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Justice Department sues Facebook for discriminating against American workers

The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Facebook alleging that the company’s recruiting and hiring practices discriminated against Americans in favor of immigrants on temporary work visas.

The lawsuit announced on Thursday accuses Facebook of reserving over 2,600 positions paying an average of roughly $156,000 for temporary visa holders from January 2018 to September 2019.

‘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 Assistant Attorney General Eric S. Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division in a statement. 

‘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,’ he added.

The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Facebook alleging that the company’s recruiting and hiring practices discriminated against Americans. Pictured, Mark Zuckerberg

In a statement to DailyMail.com, a Facebook spokesman said: ‘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 lawsuit alleges that Facebook employed tactics that routinely preferred temporary visa holders, including H-1B visa holders, for certain jobs. 

Facebook ‘channeled’ jobs to visa holders by avoiding advertising on its careers website, accepting only physically mailed applications for some posts, or refusing to consider US workers at all, according to the suit. 

As a result, Facebook received zero or one U.S. worker applicants for 99.7 percent of the jobs in question, while comparable positions at Facebook that were publicly advertised typically attracted 100 or more applicants each, the department said. 

‘Not only do Facebook’s alleged practices discriminate against U.S. workers, they have adverse consequences on temporary visa holders by creating an employment relationship that is not on equal terms,’ the DOJ said in a statement.

‘Such temporary visa holders often have limited job mobility and thus are likely to remain with their company until they can adjust status, which for some can be decades,’ the department added.

The lawsuit alleges that Facebook employed tactics that routinely preferred temporary visa holders, including H-1B visa holders, for certain jobs

The lawsuit alleges that Facebook employed tactics that routinely preferred temporary visa holders, including H-1B visa holders, for certain jobs

The lawsuit was filed just two days after a US federal judge blocked rule changes ordered by President Donald Trump that made it harder for people outside the country to get H1-B skilled-worker visas. 

US District Court Judge Jeffrey White granted a motion to set aside two rules by the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security that would have compelled companies to pay H1-B visa workers higher wages and restricted job types that qualify for the visas. 

The US Chamber of Commerce, the Bay Area Council in Facebook’s home state of California and others had sued the Department of Homeland Security arguing that the changes rushed new restrictions through without a proper public review process.

Silicon Valley tech firms prize skilled worker visas, using them to import engineers and other highly-trained talent, often from Asia.

Facebook uses hiring practices standard in Silicon Valley, and US prosecutors were also eyeing other tech firms regarding H1-B visas employment, according to a person familiar with the matter. 

Facebook said it is cooperating with the DOJ but disputes the allegations. Above, Facebook's luxurious headquarters in Menlo Park, California

Facebook said it is cooperating with the DOJ but disputes the allegations. Above, Facebook’s luxurious headquarters in Menlo Park, California

Separately, federal regulators and US states are poised to hit Facebook with antitrust cases, according to multiple reports on Thursday, amid concerns that its practice of buying up rivals has harmed competition.

The company said earlier this year its executives were fielding questions from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on an antitrust fact-finding mission.

The FTC declined to comment Thursday on reports in multiple US outlets including The New York Times and Washington Post that it is likely to file an antitrust suit against the social media giant.

An FTC review of acquisitions dating back to 2010 could potentially ‘unwind’ some of the company’s deals.

Facebook is the leading internet social network, reaching close to three billion people worldwide with its core platform, along with Instagram and messaging services WhatsApp and Messenger.   


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