Discrimination EEOC Facebook Intelwars Racial Bias Racism

Report: Facebook under investigation for ‘systemic’ racial discrimination practices

The United States government is reportedly investigating Facebook for racially discriminatory hiring and promotion practices.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the government agency tasked with protecting the civil rights of employees, is leading the investigation, Reuters reported.

What are the details?

Lawyers representing Facebook operations manager Oscar Veneszee and three others who were denied jobs at the social media giant revealed the existence of the investigation.

The allegations are that Facebook discriminates against black employees and job candidates “by relying on subjective evaluations and promoting problematic racial stereotypes,” Reuters reported.

One such example of discrimination is that Facebook awards employees a $5,000 bonus if they refer a job candidate who is eventually hired. But the allegations claim that “referred candidates tend to reflect the makeup of existing employees,” which allegedly disadvantage black employees.

In fact, the EEOC is investigating whether the alleged racial bias is “systemic,” which means, according to Reuters, the government “suspects company policies may be contributing to widespread discrimination.”

More from Reuters:

The EEOC typically resolves disputes through mediation or allowing complainants to sue employers. But agency officials designate a few cases “systemic,” enabling investigators to rope in specialists to analyze company data and potentially bring a broader lawsuit representing entire classes of workers.

The EEOC brought in systemic investigators by last August and received detailed briefing papers from both sides over the last four months, said Peter Romer-Friedman, an attorney at Gupta Wessler representing Veneszee and the job candidates.

Veneszee, a 23-year Navy veteran, filed a complaint with the EEOC last July.

“We have a black people problem,” Veneszee told NPR at the time. “We’ve set goals to increase diversity at the company, but we’ve failed to create a culture at the company that finds, grows and keeps black people at the company.”

What did Facebook say?

Facebook has not specifically responded to the allegations, but said “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,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone told Reuters.

Anything else?

Technology giants like Facebook and Google are no stranger to allegations of discrimination.

Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, agreed last month to pay nearly $4 million to settle allegations that it discriminated against women and Asian employees.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Facebook in December over allegations the company had discriminated against American workers.

“The Department of Justice’s lawsuit alleges that Facebook engaged in intentional and widespread violations of the law, by setting aside positions for temporary visa holders instead of considering interested and qualified U.S. workers,” then-Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband said.

Arkansas EEOC Federal lawsuit Federal watchdog Intelwars Kroger Lbgtq agenda Rainbow heart Religious discrimination claim

Two Kroger workers fired after refusing to wear LGBTQ apron. Now federal watchdog is suing chain for religious discrimination.

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against supermarket chain Kroger on behalf of two women who said the store fired them after they refused to wear aprons that included an LGBTQ symbol, ABC News reported.

What are the details?

The lawsuit claims ex-workers Brenda Lawson and Trudy Rickerd said the company implemented a policy in April 2019 that required employees to wear an apron that included a rainbow heart, which they say endorses LGBTQ values, the network said.

The women claimed wearing the symbol would violate their religious beliefs, and that they even tried to offer alternatives, ABC News said, citing the lawsuit.

Lawson, who was 72 at the time, said she offered to wear the apron with her name tag covering the emblem, but the Conway, Arkansas, store allegedly refused, the network said.

“I am requesting a reasonable accommodation of this dress code with regard to my religious belief,” she wrote in a letter requesting religious accommodations, ABC News said, citing the lawsuit. “I am simply asking to wear my name badge over the heart logo.”

Rickerd, who was 57 at the time, said she offered to wear a different apron without the emblem and sent a letter explaining why she felt she couldn’t comply with the policy, the network reported.

“I have a sincerely held religious belief that I cannot wear a symbol that promotes or endorses something that is in violation of my religious faith,” she wrote in the letter, ABC News said, citing the lawsuit. “I respect others who have a different opinion and am happy to work alongside others who desire to wear the symbol. I am happy to buy another apron to ensure there is no financial hardship on Kroger.”

How did Kroger allegedly respond to the women’s requests?

Kroger, the country’s largest supermarket chain, allegedly denied both requests and retaliated against the women by disciplining and ultimately firing them, the network reported, citing the lawsuit.

ABC News said Teresa Dickerson, a Kroger communication representative, declined the network’s request for comment and cited a standard against speaking publicly on pending litigation.

Anything else?

The network — citing the lawsuit — added that Kroger didn’t fire other employees who declined to wear the new apron or covered the heart emblem without requesting religious accommodations.

The EEOC — which is in charge of enforcing anti-workplace discrimination laws — filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas on Monday, ABC News said. The federal watchdog’s suit alleges conduct that violates the Title VII, a part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits workplace discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin, the network said.

“Companies have an obligation under Title VII to consider requests for religious accommodations, and it is illegal to terminate employees for requesting an accommodation for their religious beliefs,” Delner-Franklin Thomas, district director of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, said in a statement Tuesday, according to ABC News.

The suit seeks back pay and other compensatory damages as well as an injunction against future discrimination, the network said.