The Justice Division accuses Fb of discriminating in opposition to US staff

© Reuters. This image shows a 3D printed Facebook logo on a keyboard

By Sarah N. Lynch, Nandita Bose, and Katie Paul

(Reuters) – The US Department of Justice accused Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ 🙂 on Thursday for discrimination against US workers. In a recent lawsuit, the social media giant has given recruitment preferences to temporary workers, including those who hold H-1B visas.

The Justice Department said Facebook "refused" to recruit, consider, or hire skilled US workers for more than 2,600 jobs, in many cases paying an average salary of $ 156,000 per year.

Instead, it chose to fill the positions with temporary visa holders, such as H-1B visas, the department added.

"Facebook purposely created a recruitment system that denied qualified US workers a fair opportunity to learn about jobs and apply," the Justice Department said. The social media company has instead tried referring such jobs to temporary Visa holders that it wanted to sponsor for green cards or permanent residence, it added.

Company spokesman Daniel Roberts said, "Facebook has been working with the DOJ to investigate this issue and while we deny the allegations in the complaint, we are unable to comment on any pending litigation."

H-1B visas are widely used by the technology sector to bring highly skilled foreign guest workers to the US. However, critics say the laws governing these visas are lax and make it too easy to replace U.S. workers with cheaper foreign workers.

The Facebook lawsuit is the latest example of a conflict between the Trump administration and Silicon Valley over attempts to restrict the immigration of foreign workers. Trump and Republican lawmakers have argued with the company in other areas as well, such as accusing the platform of suppressing conservative voices.

The Justice and Labor Ministries have historically investigated large tech companies on allegations similar to those made against Facebook, but rarely brought charges due to loopholes.

Tech companies and industry associations have opposed measures to limit foreign labor immigration by saying there aren't enough American students with degrees in science and engineering to meet the demand for jobs in areas like artificial intelligence .

In June, Trump issued a President's proclamation temporarily blocking foreign workers applying for H-1B visas – an attempt the government announced at the time would open 525,000 jobs for U.S. workers.

The top 30 H-1B employers include large US companies such as Amazon (NASDAQ :), Microsoft (NASDAQ :), Walmart (NYSE :), Google from Alphabet (NASDAQ :), Apple (NASDAQ 🙂 and Facebook) a report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in May.

According to the EPI report, most companies using H1B visas are using the program rules to legally pay such workers below the local average wage for the positions they occupy.

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