Meta must face lawsuit claiming it prefers hiring foreign workers

World News

Meta must face a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging it prefers hiring foreign workers over U.S. citizens, a California-based federal appeals court ruled Thursday, after the lawsuit was originally thrown out in late 2022.
Meta Knight Institute Lawsuit

The lawsuit was brought by a software engineer who alleged he was not hired by the tech giant because he was a U.S. citizen.

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Key Takeaways
  • The lawsuit alleges Meta violated Section 1981, a law prohibiting discrimination in contracts, by allegedly discriminating against U.S. citizens in its hiring.
  • The judges in a 2-1 decision ruled that while citizenship discrimination differs from racial discrimination, which is the basis of Section 1981, it is not different in regard to its relevance to the text of the law itself, according to court filings.
  • The lawsuit was brought by software engineer Purushothaman Rajaram, who alleges that Meta refused to hire him because it allegedly “prefers to hire noncitizens holding H-1B visas to whom it can pay lower wages,” court filings show.
  • Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, Threads and WhatsApp, has previously denied wrongdoing, according to Reuters.
  • Daniel Low of Kotchen Low, the firm representing Rajaram, told Forbes in a statement involved parties are “pleased that the Ninth Circuit agreed with our interpretation of Section 1981,” adding that: “Citizenship discrimination against U.S. citizens has become a significant problem in recent years with a number of tech companies improperly favoring H-1B visa workers over U.S. citizens.”
  • Representatives for Meta and did not immediately respond to Forbes’ request for comment.
Chief Critic

Judge Lawrence VanDyke dissented in Thursday’s ruling. He wrote that the case is not easy to interpret, but he personally liked the majority’s conclusion better than his own. “A statute that protects against this sort of discrimination may be what this country needs, but it isn’t what Congress gave us in Section 1981,” he wrote. “And it’s not my role to transform this statute into what I wish it was. I therefore reluctantly dissent.”

Key Background

Rajaram unsuccessfully applied to Meta on several occasions between 2020 and 2022, according to court filings. He filed the complaint against the company in May 2022, and is seeking class-action status, according to Reuters. The lawsuit was thrown out by a federal judge in November 2022, but he appealed the decision last May and the appeals court heard oral arguments on the case in October.

Tangent

In mid-May, independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and American Values 2024, the super PAC backing his candidacy, filed a lawsuit against Meta, alleging it violated the First Amendment by blocking a campaign ad on Instagram and Facebook.

This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.

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