In recent months, Facebook has faced pushback from Republican lawmakers who say the platform has used its influence to suppress conservative voices. But now, charges of censorship aren’t the only allegations the Mark Zuckerberg-led company is facing.
The Washington Examiner reports that Attorney General Bill Barr and the Department of Justice (DOJ) hit Facebook with a lawsuit this week cracking down on the social media giant for allegedly discriminating against American workers.
“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,” Assistant Attorney General Eric S. Dreiband said in a statement Tuesday.
Dreiband continued: “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.”
A clear message
Dreiband also said the DOJ wants to make sure its “message to workers is clear: if companies deny employment opportunities by illegally preferring temporary visa holders, the Department of Justice will hold them accountable.”
According to the Washington Examiner, the Justice Department alleges that from Jan. 1, 2018, until Sept. 18, 2019, Facebook “intentionally created a hiring system” that did not provide Americans with a chance to apply for jobs with the company.
Specifically, the department asserts that “Facebook sought to channel jobs to temporary visa holders at the expense of U.S. workers by failing to advertise those vacancies on its careers website, requiring applicants to apply by physical mail only, and refusing to consider any U.S. workers who applied for those positions.”
The issue of foreign workers competing with U.S. citizens has gained additional attention this year due to widespread joblessness brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
In May, Republican Sens. Tom Cotton (AR), Ted Cruz (TX), Chuck Grassley (IA), and Josh Hawley (MO) released a letter in which they called on the Trump administration to halt the issuance of new work permits, including the H-1B visas often used by tech firms.
“The United States admits more than one million nonimmigrant guest workers every year, and there is no reason to admit most such workers when our unemployment is so high,” the lawmakers wrote.
“Given the extreme lack of available jobs for American job-seekers as portions of our economy begin to reopen, it defies common sense to admit additional foreign guest workers to compete for such limited employment,” the Republicans added.
They insisted that “[e]xceptions to this suspension should be rare, limited to time-sensitive industries such as agriculture, and issued only on a case-by-case basis when the employer can demonstrate that they have been unable to find Americans to take the jobs.” With its latest move, Barr’s DOJ is making it seem that it agrees.