The US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit Thursday, saying social media giant Facebook discriminated against American workers and hired cheaper foreign workers instead.
Many of the temporary workers that the DOJ accused Facebook of giving hiring preferences were foreign workers with H-1B visas.
H1-B visas allow US businesses to hire foreign workers in “skilled trades.” Critics say companies, especially in the tech arena, are exploiting the visa program to hire foreigners cheaply.
The DOJ further alleged that Facebook “refused” to consider qualified US workers for more than 2,600 vacancies paying an average annual salary of $ 156,000.
The move came after a two-year investigation into Facebook’s hiring practices, The New York Times reported.
“Our message to workers is clear: If companies turn down employment opportunities by illegally preferring temporary visa holders, the Justice Department will hold them accountable,” said Eric S. Dreiband, deputy attorney general of the Immigration Division. civil rights at The Times. “Our message to all employers – including those in the tech industry – is clear: you cannot illegally recruit, consider, or hire temporary visa holders over American workers.”
“Facebook has cooperated with the DOJ in its review of this matter,” company spokesman Daniel Roberts told Reuters. “And while we dispute the allegations of the complaint, we cannot comment further on the pending litigation.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, with personal wealth of around $ 100 billion, has long advocated for immigrants to work in the tech industry, the Times reported. In 2013, he created Fwd.us, a nonprofit that advocates measures to make it easier to hire immigrants for tech jobs, according to the Times.
The DOJ’s case against Facebook is another issue for Silicon Valley, which has come under fire in recent years for violations of antitrust laws, anti-competitive practices, privacy concerns, and content that some find offensive.
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