Tag: Discrimination

Parent of company of Facebook pays immigrants less

According to recent court findings, an IT professional filed suit against Meta, the parent company of Facebook, alleging it didn’t hire him because he was a US citizen.

According to the court filings, it’s alleged that the lawsuit said the company preferred visa holders — such as those on H-1B visas — at sites in the US because it could pay them less for the same tasks.

The plaintiff in the suit is Purushothaman Rajaram, a naturalized US citizen who lives in Pennsylvania. He has 20 years of experience in IT and it’s reported that Facebook considered him for employment on two occasions in 2020. The first being May 2020 when he was contacted by Infosys Inc. for a position at Facebook, and the second being in June 2020 by Facebook directly. He was hired on neither occasion.

The suit, filed on May 17 and seeks class action status.

“By law, H-1B visa workers must be paid by their employer at least as much as other individuals with similar experience and qualifications for the specific employment in question,” according to the lawsuit. “Thus, the only reason Facebook would choose to hire and relegate certain positions to visa holders is to pay them less than American counterparts, an unlawful practice that is known in the industry as ‘wage theft.’”

Meta hires H-1B visa holders directly, according to the suit, and has secured more than 20,000 H-1B visas with a vast majority for employees who will perform software engineer roles. It also said Meta is an H-1B visa-dependent employer in that 15% or more of its US workforce is on an H-1B visa.

In addition, the suit said Meta also brings in H-1B visa workers from third-party vendors such as Infosys and Accenture.

Rajaram’s lawsuit refers to legal action by the US Departments of Labor and Justice against Facebook in which the social networking giant agreed to pay $4.75 million to settle allegations of bias against US workers.

Rajaram’s suit seeks damages including punitive damages.

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Employers are warned against ignoring value of wisdom and experience

A recent article by Andrea London has highlighted concern that the new world of remote working is resulting in increasing polarisation of the labour market in the UK and an increase in the “generational skills gap” and whether older workers can keep up with technical advances.

She mentions that even if people over the age of 55 don’t have the “skills of the future”, they do have valuable wisdom, experience, skills, and attributes that took years to develop and should not be ignored. These benefits influence all in the workplace, and she warns that companies may not realise the value of an age-diverse workplace until it is too late.

The writer goes on to warn of the likelihood of an increasing number of unfair dismissal incidents, such as the recent Williams -v- Lyons Holiday Parks [2022] case, where Mrs. Williams, a 60-year-old worker, was dismissed because she wasn’t receiving enough “likes” on social media.

According to London, a possible leveller is “proximity bias” – where those we see more often are looked upon more favourably. For example, in a hybrid working model, those in the office, such as more mature staff members, may be more likely to be presented with tasks as opposed to those working remotely. Unfortunately, as businesses adapt, proximity bias may disappear, and the benefits of this may be short-lived.

In her article, Andrea London, partner at Winckworth Sherwood, wrote: “When Mark Zuckerberg in 2007 (in)famously said to a room full of budding entrepreneurs that “young people are just smarter” – he maybe did not realise the damage his narrative would cause – that youth has become synonymous with technological skill and to be “old” is to be technically illiterate. This is a misguided belief – but unfortunately, in our increasingly technological workplaces, this is an increasingly held viewpoint.”

“Despite the legal protections; ageism and its legal counterpart; age discrimination remains challenging for employers. What is really needed is a change in attitude and perception – such that age is part of any diversity and inclusion programs – but this will take time. Employers who are increasing their technology or operating any hybrid workplace model need to be aware that whilst in theory the future looks bright, they wouldn’t be there save for the past and should remember how they got there and whom in their workforce, assisted with that progress.”

The older workforce are an untapped talent resource as reported on in TALiNT International. At a time when employers are strapped for experienced professionals, employers should look to the over 55s to plug skills gaps in their businesses.

 

 

 

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News channels negatively portray the community

According to new research by INvolve, 73% of the LGBT+ community believe they have witnessed discrimination because of unrealistic and negative media portrayals.

In the survey of 537 respondents, 369 of which identified as LGBT+, 50% report that the news is the platform that showcases the most negative portrayals of the community with 68% reporting unrealistic portrayals of the LGBT+ community. These figures were followed closely by Reality TV (47% and 60%) and TV Dramas (25% and 52%).

The research revealed that the way that the LGBT+ community is represented in media is having ripple effects on ‘real-world’ situations for LGBT+ individuals. Nearly 70% believe that the media affects the way they are perceived in the workplace, 60% within their family and 50% within their social circles. Over half of respondents (53%) believe that these perceptions are negative and only 16% believe they are positive.

It is clear from the study that there is a need for more diverse, realistic, and positive representations of the LGBT+ community within the media but INvolve believes this can only happen if there are powerful role models leading the way in the news media and in workplaces.

The annual OUTstanding LGBT+ Role Model List has launched and it celebrates businesspeople who play a key role in breaking the glass ceiling for LGBT+ individuals in the workplace.  The OUTstanding Role Model Lists, supported by Yahoo Finance UK, is one of three sets of role model lists produced annually by INvolve.

Lex Chan, General Counsel at the Business of Fashion, is named number one of the Future Leaders list. They are named alongside two other British businesspeople, Bruna Gil, Channel Partner Lead at LinkedIn, and Jules Buet, Quantitative Developer at Citi.

Francesca McDonagh, Group Chief Executive Officer for Bank of Ireland Group, Beatriz Martin, UK Chief Executive & Group Treasurer of UBS Group AG, and Caroline Frankum, Global CEO of Kantar, take three spots in the Top Ten Advocates list.

Suki Sandhu OBE, founder and CEO of INvolve, commented:

“Positive role models in business are vital. They blaze a trail for change and inspire others to take action for inclusion.

“They are all working to dismantle systems and smash barriers to progress that can prevent the LGBT+ community from succeeding and thriving both in business and beyond. You can’t be what you can’t see so there is a great need for strong and meaningful role models to be visible in business, across the media and in society.”

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The number of age discrimination employment tribunal claims soared last year, with complaints of this type rising more than any other category during the pandemic year.

According to research by over-50s digital community Rest Less, age discrimination claims increased by 74% last year, with the number of claims rising to 3,668, up from 2,112 in 2019.

This was despite the fact that overall, employment tribunal claims decreased last year, falling 1.5% to 180,430.

The figures highlight the disproportionate impact of the health crisis on the over-50s, with unemployment figures rising sharply among the demographic last year. The number of jobless over-50s rose 48% last year, while redundancies were up 79% on the previous year.

More claims on the horizon

The increase in claims was particularly pronounced in the last quarter of the year and Rest Less said it expected numbers would climb further in the coming months. It pointed out there are still more than one million over-50s on furlough and predicted “a new wave of redundancies may be on the horizon”.

Stuart Lewis, Founder of Rest Less, commented: ‘We know that the pandemic has exacerbated age discrimination in both the workplace and the recruitment process. We also know that once made redundant, older workers are more likely to drift into long-term unemployment than their younger counterparts, raising fears about the sustainability of the UK’s recovery if we don’t have a jobs plan that works for people of all ages.

“Age is a legally protected characteristic, just like gender, ethnicity, religion and disability but yet age discrimination is still widely seen as a socially acceptable form of prejudice. Age discrimination is unfair, unacceptable and has long-term damaging consequences on both the individuals involved and wider society. It needs to stop.”

Patrick Thomson, Senior Programme Manager at the Centre for Ageing Better, added that age discrimination often went overlooked by employers: “We know that age is often the last unspoken and accepted form of discrimination in the workplace. Our recent research with employers finds that while many said diversity and inclusion were important to them, few had strategies or approaches to make their workplaces age-inclusive. We know a third of people in their 50s and 60s feel their age disadvantages them in applying for jobs, higher than any other age group.”

Rest Less used data from the Quarterly Tribunal Statistics from the Ministry of Justice and the Labour Force Survey for its analysis.

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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