According to the lawsuit, filed by an Indian-origin naturalised US citizen, Purushothaman Rajaram, Facebook allegedly prefers to hire workers on temporary (H-1B) work permits over US citizens as that enables the company to pay lower wages.
ET has seen a copy of the filing. Meta did not respond to ET’s email seeking comment.
Rajaram has accused the company of violating federal civil rights law by treating him differently because he is a US citizen.
“When hiring for US positions, Facebook considers United States citizens, lawful permanent residents (e.g., green card holders), and foreign citizens with proper work permits (e.g., H-1B or L-1 visa holders). But while visa holders make up just a fraction of the United States labour market, Facebook prefers to hire visa-dependent workers for certain US positions, as it can pay these employees less than American workers performing the same work,” the lawsuit says.
Rajaram, who moved to the United States from India, has almost 20 years of experience in solution architecting and delivering enterprise PLM software solutions to Fortune 500 companies. He was considered for employment by Facebook on two occasions in 2020 and claims that he was passed over in favour of a worker with an H-1B visa.
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This is not the first time that the US-based company is facing legal action related to alleged discriminatory hiring practices.
In October 2021, Facebook agreed to pay the US Department of Justice over $14 million to settle a similar charge.
According to Rajaram’s complaint, Facebook is an H-1B visa dependent employer, meaning that 15% or more of its US workforce of over 34,600 people are on H-1B visas.
The company hires temporary visa holders either directly or through third-party vendors like
“And, as Facebook’s US workforce continues to grow, so does its
on H-1B visa workers, as indicated by the increased number of H-1B visa approvals…,” his lawsuit alleges.
Over the past nine years, Facebook has secured over 20,000 H-1B visas (including fresh visas, visa extensions, and visa amendments) for its US workforce, the filing says, noting that the number of H-1B visas awarded to Facebook increased from 412 in 2013 to 5,100 in 2022.
Over the years, the number of H-1B work visas issued to American companies like Facebook has been outstripping Indian services companies as they turn to countries like India for niche tech talent. The United States issues 85,000 new H-1B visas annually, of which over 70% are awarded to Indian nationals.