An Information Technology worker has filed a lawsuit against the parent company of one of the largest social media companies on the planet, accusing it of discriminating against U.S. citizens. The lawsuit alleges that the company favors temporary visa holders at its U.S. worksites, such as holders of H-1B visas, over U.S. citizens in order to pay them less than they would U.S citizen workers.
The plaintiff in this suit is a naturalized U.S. citizen who holds almost 20 years of IT experience and, according to the lawsuit, has been considered for employment by the company on two occasions. In the first instance, the position was through a third party, and on the second occasion, the position was with the company directly; however, on neither of these occasions was the plaintiff hired.
The lawsuit seeks class-action status and has been filed in a federal court for the Northern District of California. The lawsuit states that H-1B workers must receive equal compensation for their work as compared to other workers with similar experience and qualifications. As a result, it alleges that the only reason that this employer would seek to employ only visa holders in certain positions would be to provide them with lower pay than they would a U.S. citizen worker, which according to the suit, is wage theft.
The suit states that the employer hires H-1B workers directly as well as through third parties and has directly acquired greater than 20,000 H-1B visas over the previous nine years, with the majority going toward positions for employees that will work in software engineering positions. Overall, the suit alleges that the company is highly dependent on the visas, with at least 15% of its workforce being composed of H-1B visa holders and additional H-1B workers being provided by third-party staffing companies.
The social media giant has faced similar legal action in the past, alleging that it discriminates against U.S. citizen workers. The suit references a previous legal action taken by the U.S Department of Justice and the Department of labor in which the company reached a $4.75 million settlement over allegations of discrimination against U.S. workers.
The lawsuit also states that as the company’s U.S.-based workforce has grown, so too has its dependence upon H-1B visas, as indicated by its growing number of visa approvals. The suit points to the company’s 412 H-1B visas, including fresh visas, extensions, and amendments awarded in 2013, compared to 5,100 in 2022. The lawsuit seeks equitable relief as well as compensatory and punitive damages.
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