The Department of Justice is suing Facebook claiming that the social media giant discriminates against U.S. workers.
“The Department of Justice’s lawsuit alleges that Facebook engaged in intentional and widespread violations of the law, by setting aside positions for temporary visa holders instead of considering interested and qualified U.S. workers,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric S. Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division said in a news release.
“This lawsuit follows a nearly two-year investigation into Facebook’s practices and a ‘reasonable cause’ determination by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division,” he said.
“Our message to workers is clear: if companies deny employment opportunities by illegally preferring temporary visa holders, the Department of Justice will hold them accountable. Our message to all employers — including those in the technology sector — is clear: you cannot illegally prefer to recruit, consider, or hire temporary visa holders over U.S. workers.”
The lawsuit focused on about 2,600 positions that Facebook set aside for temporary visa holders sponsored through the permanent labor certification process, cited in the complaint against Facebook as PERM. The jobs averaged $156,000 per year in salary.
Facebook offered little in reply.
“Facebook has been cooperating with the D.O.J. in its review of this issue, and while we dispute the allegations in the complaint, we cannot comment further on pending litigation,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement, The New York Times said.
According to the complaint filed by the Justice Department, unlike the wide-open process used to fill most Facebook jobs, “when certain employees holding temporary immigration status (‘temporary visa holders’) at Facebook ask the company for permanent positions through the permanent labor certification process (‘PERM’), Facebook creates a permanent position that is open only to that temporary visa holder.”
That, the complaint said, was step one.
“Facebook then implements a recruitment process intentionally designed to deter U.S. workers from applying. For these positions reserved for temporary visa holders, Facebook does not advertise the positions on its website, does not accept applications online, and requires candidates to mail in their applications,” the complaint said.
As a result “Facebook often gets zero applications for these advertised positions. And even when U.S. workers do apply, Facebook will not consider them for the advertised positions. Instead, Facebook fills these positions exclusively with temporary visa holders. Simply put, Facebook reserves these positions for temporary visa holders,” the complaint said.
As such, the complaint said, “Facebook intentionally discriminates against U.S. workers because of their citizenship or immigration status.”
The Justice Department news release said Facebook “dissuaded U.S. workers from applying to its PERM positions.”
According to the complaint, “Facebook received zero or one U.S. worker applicants for 99.7 percent of its PERM positions, while comparable positions at Facebook that were advertised on its careers website during a similar time period typically attracted 100 or more applicants each.”
“Not only do Facebook’s alleged practices discriminate against U.S. workers, they have adverse consequences on temporary visa holders by creating an employment relationship that is not on equal terms. An employer that engages in the practices alleged in the lawsuit against Facebook can expect more temporary visa holders to apply for positions and increased retention post-hire. Such temporary visa holders often have limited job mobility and thus are likely to remain with their company until they can adjust status, which for some can be decades,” the release said.
“As a result of Facebook’s pattern or practice of discriminatory recruitment and hiring, otherwise qualified applicants were denied hire for Facebook’s PERM-related positions because of Facebook’s preference to give the positions to temporary visa holders because of their citizenship or immigration status,” the complaint added.
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