Americans faced discrimination as jobs were channelled to H1-B visa holders, says DOJ.
The Trump administration on Thursday sued Facebook, accusing it of discriminating against American workers by favoring immigrant applicants for thousands of high-paying jobs.
The Department of Justice’s lawsuit opens a new front in the administration’s push against tech companies — and in its clampdown on immigration — as President Donald Trump enters his final weeks in office.
The suit concerns more than 2,600 positions with an average salary of some $156,000, offered from January 2018 to September 2019.
“Facebook engaged in intentional and widespread violations of the law, by setting aside positions for temporary visa holders instead of considering interested and qualified US workers,” assistant attorney general Eric Dreiband, of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement outlining the department’s allegations.
The internet giant reserved positions for candidates with H1-B “skilled worker” visas or other temporary work visas, the department said.
Facebook “channelled” jobs to visa holders by avoiding advertising on its careers website, accepting only physically mailed applications for some posts, or refusing to consider U.S. workers at all, according to the suit.
The unusual move to file a lawsuit — with the Justice Department pivoting suddenly away from simply discussing their concerns with Facebook — could be seen as a rush to hit the courts before Mr. Trump leaves the White House in January.
The California-based social network planned to continue cooperating with the department as the case plays out.
The lawsuit was filed just two days after a U.S. federal judge blocked rule changes ordered by Mr. Trump that made it harder for people outside the country to get skilled-worker visas.
The U.S. 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.