The US Department of Justice (DoJ) is suing social media giant, Facebook, over its hiring of immigrant workers. Following a reported two-year investigation, the DoJ filed a lawsuit claiming that Facebook had discriminated against American workers. The lawsuit has been dubbed yet another parting shot by outgoing President Donald Trump.
According to the lawsuit, Facebook has “refused to recruit, consider, or hire qualified and available US workers for over 2,600 positions.” The DoJ accused Facebook, instead, of hiring H1B visa workers, which are often used by tech firms to fill job vacancies. There are an estimated 600,000 H1B visa holders in the US, mainly from India and China.
The lawsuit filed by the DoJ states: “Based on the department’s nearly two-year investigation, Facebook intentionally created a hiring system in which it denied qualified US 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.”
Violations of the law
Assistant Attorney General Eric S. Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division said that the DoJ’s lawsuit accuses Facebook of intentionally engaging in widespread violations of the law by reserving job vacancies for temporary workers at the exclusion of interested, and qualified, American workers.
Dreiband said: “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 US workers,” Dreiband added.
According to the DoJ, between January 2018 and September 2019, Facebook ‘tactically discriminated’ against American workers by overlooking them in favor of H1B visa holders and other temporary visa workers.
The DoJ alleges that the social media giant sought to funnel jobs to temporary visa holders at the expense of US workers by failing to advertise vacancies on its careers website. Instead, Facebook asked applicants to apply by post only and refused to consider applications made by Americans.
Facebook hiring practices
The DoJ’s allegations are in contrast to Facebook’s usual hiring practices, which reportedly relies on recruitment methods aimed at encouraging applications through advertising on its careers page, accepting electronic applications and not pre-selecting candidates based on their US immigration status.
For 99.7 percent of Facebook’s PERM positions, the DoJ alleges that from January 2018 to September 2019, the social media giant received zero or one US worker applicants, while comparable vacancies listed on Facebook’s careers page typically attracted 100 or more applicants in the same time period.
Allegations disputed by Facebook
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the allegations have been disputed by Facebook, but said that it is ‘cooperating with the DoJ.’
Under the Trump administration and it’s ‘buy American, hire American’ policy, tech firms have found it increasingly difficult to hire temporary visa holders.
The H1B visa program in particular has been targeted by the outgoing President. Workpermit.com recently reported that H1B visa rules implemented by Trump have been thrown out by a federal judge.
Trump has had many run ins with Facebook over US immigration policy. FWD.us, set up by Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has campaigned heavily for US immigration reform. Meanwhile, in September 2019, the social media giant banned US visa officers from creating fake Facebook accounts to monitor immigration applicants.
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