A group of black workers filed a class action charge against Facebook, alleging that the company discriminates against African-American workers in hiring, promotions, evaluations, and pay.
The charge, which was filed Thursday with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, also alleges that black employees at Facebook do not feel respected, valued, or heard. The people making the charge are calling on the company led by CEO Mark Zuckerberg to substantially increase the number of black workers hired and promoted at all levels.
“Facebook is a great company, but it has a long way to go when it comes to treating Black workers fairly, promoting our careers, respecting us, and valuing our tremendous contributions,” said Oscar Veneszee Jr., who has worked as an operations program manager at Facebook since 2017, in a statement provided to Fox News. He claims that he has not been fairly evaluated or promoted, despite his excellent performance and achievement at Facebook.
“We hope that this discrimination charge starts a constructive dialogue with Facebook about how deepening its commitment to diversity and Black workers will make Facebook a stronger and more dynamic company,” Veneszee, a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Navy whose work at Facebook focuses on outreach to veterans, diversity, and organizations, added.
Black workers represent only 3.8 percent of Facebook’s nearly 45,000 employees, and even smaller percentages when broken down by technical or leadership roles. Two other black professionals, Howard Winns, Jr., and Jazsmin Smith, joined in filing the charge, claiming they were unlawfully denied jobs at the tech giant, despite excellent qualifications and credentials.
The workers want the EEOC to probe what they claim is a pattern of bias against black workers at the social network.
The charge doesn’t arrive at a good time for Facebook. Organizers of the Stop Hate for Profit boycott say that at least 750 different brands are halting or pausing their advertising on Facebook this month in protest of how the company has handled hate speech. In November 2018, Mark Luckie, a former Facebook employee who is black, wrote a memo saying the company was “failing” its black users and employees.
In this Oct. 25, 2019 photo Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the Paley Center in New York.
“There are so many exceptionally qualified black workers that Facebook can hire and promote, including the courageous professionals who filed this discrimination charge,” said Peter Romer-Friedman, a principal at Gupta Wessler PLLC and counsel for the workers who filed the charge. “Facebook can and must do a far better job recruiting, hiring, promoting, and retaining black workers. It’s time to close the gap between Facebook’s words and deeds on the issue of diversity.”
A spokesperson for Facebook provided Fox News with the following statement via email:
“We believe it is essential to provide all employees with a respectful and safe working environment. We take any allegations of discrimination seriously and investigate every case.”