In Louisiana, employees who feel they have been discriminated against for a protected reason, like race, can file a lawsuit in state or federal court. Before filing in federal court, employees must file a government charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC must then be given time to decide whether to investigate. On July 2, one employee and two prospective employees of Facebook began this process by filing charges with the EEOC claiming discrimination based on race.
Basis of the EEOC charge
The EEOC charge states that black employees and other employees of color are underrepresented at the social media giant. They also say Facebook has not provided black employees with equal opportunities to advance. The employee bringing the charge is a manager, but he says he has been denied promotions and given only average performance reviews, despite having exceeded expectations.
Charge claims Facebook has passed over qualified applicants
The Facebook manager says he has been criticized for making constructive suggestions regarding diversity initiatives and for asking why Facebook has not been doing more recruiting at black universities. Both individuals who applied for jobs at Facebook say they were properly qualified for the roles to which they applied, which they say was confirmed by recruiters. One applicant says she applied for jobs with Facebook on two prior occasions as well, in 2012 and 2018; she was turned down again in 2020 without so much as an interview.
Factors that can support a discrimination claim
Though statistics are not dispositive, Facebook’s disproportionate number of non-black employees could support the plaintiffs’ claim. In 2019, only 3.8% of Facebook’s workforce identified as black. It would also be relevant to see what proportion of those black employees hold management-level roles and how often they receive promotions when compared to their non-black co-workers.
The failure to hire or promote someone based on race is considered to be a form of workplace discrimination. If you feel you’ve been passed over for jobs or advances because of your race, gender, or another protected characteristic, you may want to reach out to an employment law attorney.