Facebook Employee Files Racial Bias Complaint

Staffer says company discriminates in hiring and promotions
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 2, 2020 5:44 PM CDT
Facebook Hit With Bias Complaint On Hiring, Promotions
Facebook employees sit at their stations at a new office in Campbridge, Massachusetts, last year.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

A black Facebook employee, joined by two others who were denied jobs at the social network, has filed a complaint against the company, saying it discriminates against black workers and applicants in hiring, evaluations, promotions, and pay. The charge was filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by Oscar Veneszee Jr., who has worked as an operations program manager at Facebook since 2017 and claims he has not been fairly evaluated or promoted despite his "excellent performance." Two others joined Veneszee's complaint, saying they were unlawfully denied jobs at Facebook despite being qualified. Facebook said in a statement it takes discrimination allegations seriously and investigates every case. "We believe it is essential to provide all employees with a respectful and safe working environment," said spokeswoman Pamela Austin.

Black workers account for 3.8% of all US Facebook employees and 1.5% of all US technical workers at the company. Those numbers have barely budged over the past several years, a common pattern across large Silicon Valley firms. This isn't the first criticism a black employee has leveled at Facebook. Mark Luckie, who left the company in 2018, sent a memo to his coworkers on his last day—also posted on Facebook—that chronicled what he called Facebook's “black people problem." According to Veneszee's complaint, filed Thursday, "people of color and black workers in particular remain underrepresented at all levels of Facebook and especially at the management and leadership levels. They do not feel respected or heard." While there may be Black Lives Matter posters on Facebook's walls, the complaint says, "Black workers don’t see that phrase reflecting how they are treated in Facebook's own workplace."

(Read more Facebook stories.)

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