The Trump administration sued Facebook on Thursday, claiming the social media giant illegally reserved thousands of jobs for immigrants the company was sponsoring to stay in the U.S., instead of looking for qualified American workers to fill the positions.
The U.S. Justice Department said Facebook “refused to recruit, consider, or hire” American workers who could fill 2,600 jobs. Those positions offered an average salary of $156,000, according to a release from the Justice Department on Thursday. The two-year investigation found Facebook “intentionally created a hiring system in which it denied qualified U.S. workers a fair opportunity to learn about and apply for jobs that Facebook instead sought to channel to temporary visa holders” the company was looking to help secure green cards.
“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. “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.”
Dreiband added: “Our message to workers is clear: if companies deny employment opportunities by illegally preferring temporary visa holders, the Department of Justice will hold them accountable. 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.”
“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 company spokesman told TheWrap.
The Justice Department said Facebook’s refusal to search for qualified U.S. workers stood in contrast to its usual recruiting process, and that the company failed to advertise the openings on its careers website.
The lawsuit adds to the tension between President Trump and Facebook after the president ripped the company, along with Twitter, for adding warning labels and fact check notifications to a number of his posts this year. And earlier this week, President Trump threatened to veto a defense bill unless Congress agreed to strip away Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which is the broad legal shield that protects sites like Facebook from being sued for what its users post.