Trump administration sues Facebook for discriminating against American workers

Justin Vallejo
·2-min read
 (Rex Features)
(Rex Features)

The Department of Justice has accused Facebook of discriminating against US workers by giving hiring preferences to foreigners on temporary work visas.

In a lawsuit filed on Thursday, the Justice department alleges the social media giant refused to recruit, consider or hire qualified and available Americans for more than 2,600 positions.

They allege the positions with an average salary of $156,000 were instead reserved for holders of H-1B visa workers and other temporary visa holders it sponsored for permanent work authorization.

The lawsuit was announced in a press release that alleged a two-year investigation found Facebook intentionally created a hiring system that set aside positions for temporary visa holders that the company wanted to sponsor for green cards instead of considering Americans.

“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 Civil Rights Division assistant attorney general Eric S Dreiband.

The key allegation is that the reserved positions were not advertised on Facebook’s website, and applications were required to be mailed in rather than being accepted through online submission, while refusing to consider any US workers who applied.

During the course of the investigation in 2018 and 2019, the DOJ alleges Facebook received zero or one one application from a US worker for 99.7 per cent of its positions connected to the permanent labour certification process (PERM).

By comparison, similar jobs advertised on Facebook’s website received 100 or more applicants for each position, according to the lawsuit.

A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to The Independent: "Facebook has been cooperating with the DOJ in its review of this issue and while we dispute the allegations in the complaint, we cannot comment further on pending litigation.”

The investigation was led by the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, and the criminal complaint alleges that Facebook’s “intentional and widespread” violations can also result in adverse consequence for temporary visa holders by creating an unequal employment relationship.

The DOJ says the practices alleged in the Facebook lawsuit were likely to increase staff retention post-hire as temporary visa holders have limited job mobility, and are likely to remain with the company while waiting “decades” to adjust their immigration status.