Feds Accuse Facebook Of Discriminating Against US Workers
By Anne Cullen
Law360 (December 3, 2020, 4:01 PM EST) –
The U.S. Department of Justice sued Facebook on Thursday, alleging the social media behemoth is discriminating against U.S. workers and violating federal immigration law by reserving thousands of jobs for temporary visa holders.
The U.S. Department of Justice has accused Facebook of discriminating against U.S. workers by illegally reserving thousands of jobs for temporary visa holders. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
In a complaint filed with the DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, the agency says that Facebook illegally funnels employees with temporary visas into permanent positions without giving qualified U.S. workers a fair chance to vie for those spots.
Under the permanent labor certification process — the U.S. Department of Labor‘s rules for hiring a foreign worker to stay on permanently — the company needs to demonstrate that no national workers are available to do the job before handing the role to a foreigner.
But the Justice Department says that when Facebook opens up one of these so-called PERM roles, it purposefully makes it hard for U.S. workers to find and apply for these openings, and it rejects the very few who do.
“Facebook’s discriminatory recruitment and hiring practice is routine, ongoing, and widespread,” the agency says. “It discriminates against U.S. workers because of their immigration or citizenship status, and it harms them by limiting their ability to apply, to be considered, and to be hired for all PERM-related jobs at Facebook.”
According to the complaint, Facebook attaches “burdensome application requirements” that are “designed to deter applicants” to PERM jobs, like mandating that applications be sent by mail.
In situations where a qualified U.S. worker did apply for a PERM role, the DOJ says, Facebook would either usher that person to a non-PERM position, or if one wasn’t available, it would pull the plug on the PERM process altogether to restart later on.
Between January 2018 and at least September 2019, the DOJ says, Facebook reserved more than 2,600 jobs for temporary visa holders, positions that the agency says had an average salary of more than $150,000.
“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,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric S. Dreiband of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division in a press release Thursday.
The lawsuit was filed as part of a Justice Department initiative kicked off in 2017 aimed at going after companies that allegedly discriminate against U.S. workers in favor of temporary visa holders. Under the program, the DOJ says it has collected more than $1.2 million in back pay and civil penalties.
On Thursday, the department asked the EOIR for a cease-and-desist order against Facebook, plus civil penalties and back pay for U.S. workers it believes were unfairly turned away from Facebook openings.
A spokesperson for Facebook said in an email that they’re cooperating with the DOJ.
“While we dispute the allegations in the complaint, we cannot comment further on pending litigation,” the spokesperson added.
–Editing by Abbie Sarfo.
Comments are closed