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Facebook’s ‘culture fit’ is the focus of a discrimination complaint, report says

Facebook’s ‘culture fit’ is the focus of a discrimination complaint, report says


The company is currently being investigated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

A Black woman who interviewed at Facebook last year says she was told the company was “looking for a culture fit” before being rejected, according to The Intercept. She’s now one of four people who’ve recently complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) about allegedly racist hiring and promotion practices at the tech giant.

The woman says she was well-suited to the managerial position on Facebook’s Global Impact Partnerships team due to her work experience and relevant doctoral degree, The Intercept reports. Yet she alleged that during in-person meetings, she “sensed that the interviewers were not prioritizing her interviews because all of the interviews seemed rushed after making her wait for several hours.” The Intercept agreed not to use the woman’s real name as a condition of receiving the complaint.

All the interviewers were white, The Intercept reports. Only 3.9 percent of Facebook’s US workforce is Black, according to a recent diversity report.

The news comes on the heels of an EEOC investigation into allegations of racial bias in Facebook’s hiring and promotion processes. The probe has been categorized as “systemic,” meaning the agency “suspects” these policies “may be contributing to widespread discrimination,” according to Reuters.

The woman also alleged that one Facebook staffer told her “There’s no doubt you can do the job, but we’re really looking for a culture fit.” The term is widely used in the tech industry to refer to job applicants who staffers would want to have a beer with. But experts say it’s a “misguided hiring strategy” that can contribute to a lack of diversity, “since very often the people we enjoy hanging out with have backgrounds much like our own,” according to Harvard Business Review.

The complaint alleges that the company’s discrimination against Black applicants is partly predicated on its “strong consideration of ‘culture fit’ in hiring, without providing sufficient objective guidance to managers and other employees on how to determine which applicants and employees will be a good ‘culture fit’ at Facebook,” The Intercept reports.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Verge.