The Trump administration has filed a complaint against social-media giant Facebook alleging the company discriminated against U.S. workers by reserving job openings for temporary workers, including H-1B visa holders.
In the lawsuit, the Department of Justice said Facebook refused to recruit, consider, or hire qualified and available U.S. workers for over 2,600 positions. Instead, it reserved the jobs for visa holders it sponsored. Under the H1-B program, U.S. employers are required to advertise jobs and hire visa-holders only if no qualified American applicants are available.
The Department of Justice said Facebook overwhelmingly placed its legally mandated ads in print publications and required applications to be submitted by mail in an effort to dissuade U.S. workers.
“If a U.S. worker applied to a [permanent labor certification program]-related position and Facebook determined that the U.S. worker was qualified, but there was no non-PERM-related vacancy available for the U.S. worker, Facebook’s standard operating procedure was to decline to hire the U.S. worker for the PERM-related position and to temporarily abandon or suspend the PERM process,” the lawsuit alleged.
The complaint was filed before administrative law judges at the executive office for immigration.
“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,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement.
The complaint comes as Facebook braces for the Federal Trade Commission to file an antitrust lawsuit. Meanwhile, some 40 states led by New York are expected to sue Facebook over alleged anti-competitive behavior.
In the employment complaint, the Department of Justice is seeking civil penalties and back pay for U.S. workers.
“Our message to workers is clear,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband said. “If companies deny employment opportunities by illegally preferring temporary visa holders, the Department of Justice will hold them accountable.”
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