A group of U.S. senators recently drafted a notably forceful letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. They lambasted his company for its “significant gaps between professed commitment to racial justice and the company’s actions and business interests.”
A group of litigants makes a similar point in a discrimination lawsuit they just filed against the social media icon, but in starkly different terms. Their federal class action complaint stresses alleged “unfairness, inequality and hostility that Black workers experience every day at Facebook.”
Understandably, and given the towering business presence of Facebook globally, the litigation filed last week by three Black individuals has generated considerable media interest.
The lawsuit’s plaintiffs invite the scrutiny, as well as wide dissemination of information like this: Although the Facebook workforce has seen overwhelming expansion in recent years, top-tier company posts have reportedly gone to Black workers only about 3% of the time. Moreover, the overall Facebook employment pool is less than 4% Black.
And it is not growing appreciably. The plaintiffs – comprising one current company manager and two other Black professionals who unsuccessfully applied for jobs at Facebook – say that underrepresentation of Black workers owes to an entrenched “pattern or practice of discrimination” at the media giant.
Facebook strongly refutes the allegations, stressing that it is committed to diversity and to providing all its workers “with a respectful and safe working environment.”
The complaint calls upon the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to probe Facebook for violations of federal civil rights laws. The plaintiffs seek “dramatic change” within the company.