Facebook did not hire Black employees because they were not a ‘culture fit,’ report says

Facebook campus
  • Three Black people allege Facebook chose not to hire them because they weren’t a “culture fit.”
  • “There’s no doubt you can do the job,” a manager said before using the culture-fit line, a report says.
  • Critics have criticized the idea of a “culture fit,” arguing it sidelines people of color.
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After initial reports of Facebook turning down Black applicants for positions because they weren’t a “culture fit,” more people have filed complaints alleging similar experiences.

A Washington Post article published Tuesday said three Black applicants were rejected from jobs at Facebook despite having met all the qualifications.

The three applicants filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency that investigates workplace discrimination.

“There’s no doubt you can do the job, but we’re really looking for a culture fit,” one hiring manager told one of the three candidates, according to The Post.

A Facebook operations manager, Oscar Veneszee Jr., told the paper he believes several qualified applicants he referred to jobs at the company were rejected because they weren’t a “culture fit.”

“When I was interviewing at Facebook, the thing I was told constantly was that I needed to be a culture fit, and when I tried to recruit people, I knew I needed [to] find people who were a culture fit,” he told The Post. “But unfortunately not many people I knew could pass that challenge because the culture here does not reflect the culture of Black people.”

The EEOC began investigating Facebook last summer over bias allegations, The Post added.

Critics have criticized workplaces pursuing the idea of a “culture fit” in their hiring practices because, they argue, it creates an inclination to hire white workers while sidelining people of color.

In a 2018 article published by the Society for Human Resource Management, a professional membership association in Alexandria, Virginia, one HR expert said “culture fit” is subjective and indicates the hiring decision is largely not based “on the candidate’s ability to deliver results.”

A Facebook spokesperson, when reached for comment, gave the following statement.

“We’ve added diversity and inclusion goals to senior leaders’ performance reviews. We take seriously allegations of discrimination and have robust policies and processes in place for employees to report concerns, including concerns about microaggressions and policy violations,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson also said the company did not take “culture fit” into account when hiring for jobs.

Rhett Lindsey, a former recruiter with Facebook, told The Post, “There is no culture fit check mark on an application form, but at Facebook it is like this invisible cloud that hangs over candidates of color.”

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Biden fired a Trump-appointed lawyer who refused to leave office

Biden
President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with labor leaders in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Washington, DC.

  • The president on Friday dismissed a Trump appointee, Sharon Gustafson, after she refused to resign.
  • Gustafson served as general counsel for the EEOC, a federal agency charged with investigating workplace issues.
  • Her dismissal prompted fury from other Trump appointees and Republican lawmakers.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

President Joe Biden on Friday fired a Trump-appointed lawyer serving on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that investigates workplace sex discrimination and retaliation. 

Sharon Gustafson, who had under the Trump administration been the EEOC’s general counsel, refused to resign, according to an email published online by the Ethics and Policy Center, a conservative think tank. 

Gustafson in a letter dated March 5 said she “respectfully” declines Biden’s request that she resign from her role. She wanted to serve until 2023, which would have marked the end of her four-year term.  

“At the time I was nominated, I was asked if I would commit to do my best to fulfill my four-year term, and I answered yes,” she wrote in the letter, addressed to Biden. “Unless prevented from doing so, I intend to honor that commitment.” 

In response to her letter declining to resign, Gautum Raghavan, the deputy director of the Office of Presidential Personnel, said in an email to Gustafson that she would be terminated effective end of day on Friday. 

Her termination unleashed fury from Andrea Lucas, another Trump appointee to the EEOC.

“I find the action taken today by the White House against our independent agency to be deeply troubling, a break from long-established norms respected by presidents of both parties, an injection of partisanship where it had been absent, and telling evidence of what ‘unity’ actually means to this President and his Administration,” Lucas tweeted

When a new president is inaugurated into office, it’s common for them to appoint their own people to all White House staff positions. Typically, staff members appointed by the preceding administration voluntarily depart from their posts. The chief of staff of the new administration asks about 4,000 appointees to hand over resignation letters.

Gustafson, however, pointed out in her letter to the president that she isn’t aware of any similar requests made of others with respect to the EEOC.

“So far as I know, no previous General Counsel has been fired for being appointed by the wrong political party,” Gustafson wrote in her letter. 

A Republican lawmaker also condemned the move by Biden, calling her dismissal an “unprecedented firing of an honorable public official.” 

“This is a pattern. President Biden calls for the end to ‘partisan warfare,’ only to turn around and demand that Senate-confirmed officials resign so he can make room for his left-wing friends,” said Rep. Virginia Foxx in a statement.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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