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Justice Department Files Discrimination Lawsuit Against Facebook

The Department of Justice (DOJ) just filed a serious legal action against social media company Facebook for allegedly discriminating against U.S. workers in its hiring practices. It is the latest in a series of legal actions that the Trump administration is taking against the organization.

According to a DOJ press release, “the lawsuit alleges that Facebook refused to recruit, consider, or hire qualified and available U.S. workers for over 2,600 positions that Facebook, instead, reserved for temporary visa holders it sponsored for permanent work authorization (or ‘green cards’) in connection with the permanent labor certification process (PERM).”

The lawsuit, which is based on a two-year investigation into the company, alleges that “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.”

Assistant Attorney General Eric S. Dreiband explained the charges against the company. “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,” he continued:

“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. 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.”


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The DOJ’s statement outlined the steps Facebook allegedly took to avoid hiring U.S. citizens. “Rather than conducting a genuine search for qualified and available U.S. workers for permanent positions sought by these temporary visa holders, Facebook reserved the positions for temporary visa holders because of their immigration status, according to the complaint.”

The lawsuit also alleges that “Facebook sought to channel jobs to temporary visa holders at the expense of U.S. workers by failing to advertise those vacancies on its careers website, requiring applicants to apply by physical mail only, and refusing to consider any U.S. workers who applied for those positions. In contrast, Facebook’s usual hiring process relies on recruitment methods designed to encourage applications by advertising positions on its careers website, accepting electronic applications, and not pre-selecting candidates to be hired based on a candidate’s immigration status, according to the lawsuit.” 

If these allegations are true, Facebook might be in some hot water in more ways than one. While much of the focus has been on its censorship and privacy practices, it appears the company may have been breaking laws related to immigration. This suit, if it is allowed to go forward, could be yet another black eye on the company.

 

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