The US Department of Justice accused the social media giant Facebook on Thursday of discriminating against American workers.
In a new lawsuit, the Ministry of Justice said Facebook had given employment preferences to temporary workers, including those with H-1B visas.
In the lawsuit, the Department of Justice stated that Facebook “refused” to hire or study qualified US workers for more than 2,600 jobs, which in many cases paid an average salary of $ 156,000 annually.
The ministry added that it has chosen instead to fill the jobs using temporary visa holders, such as those with H-1B visas.
“Facebook intentionally created a recruitment system in which qualified American workers were denied a fair opportunity to identify and apply for jobs,” the Justice Department said.
Instead, it added, the company sought to transfer such jobs to holders of temporary visas it wanted to sponsor to obtain green cards or permanent residency.
Daniel Roberts, a company spokesperson, responded: “Facebook is cooperating with the Department of Justice in its review of this matter and while we oppose the allegations in the complaint, we cannot comment further on the pending litigation.”
The tech sector often uses H-1B visas to bring highly skilled foreign workers to the United States. But critics say the laws governing these visas are lax, making it much easier to replace American workers with cheaper foreign workers.
The lawsuit against Facebook is the latest example of the outgoing Trump administration’s clash with Silicon Valley over attempts to restrict immigration of foreign workers. Trump and Republican lawmakers have clashed with the company in other areas, such as accusing the platform of stifling conservative voices.
In the past, the Ministries of Justice and Labor have investigated major tech companies over allegations similar to those against Facebook, but ultimately they rarely brought charges over loopholes in the law.
Technology companies and industry groups have opposed moves to curb immigration of foreign workers, arguing that there are not enough American students with engineering degrees to meet the demand for jobs in fields such as artificial intelligence, technology, and more.
Trump issued a presidential proclamation in June temporarily barring entry to foreign workers on H-1B visas – an effort the administration said at the time would open 525,000 jobs for American workers, but was intended to curb foreign immigration.
According to a report released by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in May among the 30 largest employers of H-1B there are major US companies including Amazon, Microsoft, Walmart, Alphabet’s Google, Apple, Facebook, among others.
The EPI report states that most companies using H1B visas take advantage of program rules to legally pay these workers’ wages below the local average wage for these jobs.