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DOJ sues Facebook for discriminating against U.S. workers

A lawsuit filed Thursday accuses the company of deliberately favoring temporary visa holders

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) is suing Facebook for allegedly creating recruitment systems that favored temporary visa holders. 

In a complaint filed Thursday, the DOJ accused Facebook of failing to consider “qualified and available U.S. workers” for more than 2,600 positions with an average salary of roughly $156,000. 

“Facebook intentionally created a hiring system in which it denied qualified U.S. workers a fair opportunity to learn about and apply for jobs that Facebook instead sought to channel to temporary visa holders Facebook wanted to sponsor for green cards,” the department said in a news release.

The DOJ said it has clear rules which state that companies can’t deny workers employment opportunities by unlawfully preferring temporary visa holders. Companies that do so will be held accountable, the Department said. 

“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,”  Assistant Attorney General Eric S. Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division said in a statement

Discrimination allegations 

DOJ officials claim that the systems Facebook set up discriminated against U.S. workers for more than a year, from around January 1, 2018 to September 18, 2019. During that time, the company is accused of not advertising available positions on Facebook’s careers website and of not considering U.S. workers for open positions.  

Thursday’s lawsuit accuses Facebook of creating permanent positions reserved for temporary visa holders. When employees holding temporary immigration status at Facebook applied for permanent positions through the labor certification process, the tech giant allegedly created a permanent position that was “only open to that temporary visa holder,” according to the complaint. 

Facebook implemented a recruitment process that was “intentionally designed to deter U.S. workers from applying,” the complaint alleges. The DOJ is seeking civil penalties, back pay on behalf of U.S. workers allegedly denied employment, and other relief to prevent future discrimination.

A spokesperson for Facebook said the company “has been cooperating with the DOJ in its review of this issue.” However, the company is disputing the agency’s allegations and refused to comment further on the matter.

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