July 01, 2015 Practice Points

The White Social Network: Facebook Criticized for Low Employee Diversity

By Dustin W. Osborne

On Thursday, June 25, Facebook published its latest government-mandated diversity report, revealing that more than half of its United States employees are Caucasian. While this proportion dropped slightly from 57 percent to 55 percent, and the proportion of Asian employees increased by 2 percent to 36 percent, the proportions of Hispanics, African Americans, and people of two or more races remained flat at 4 percent, 2 percent, and 3 percent, respectively. Additionally, the report shows that Facebook's leadership is even more homogenous, with 73 percent of the senior leadership positions filled by Caucasians.

Additionally, the most recent Equal Employment Opportunity filing, prepared in accordance with United States government requirements, shows that out of an overall headcount increase of 1,231 in 2013, Facebook hired an additional seven African Americans. At that time, Facebook employed 45 African Americans out of its total U.S. workforce of 4,263. Furthermore, there were no African Americans in any senior leadership positions.

Per the report, it appears that gender proportionality also proves to be an issue. Facebook made little progress increasing its proportion of female employees, as 68 percent of its global employees are male—a decrease of merely 1 percent. Its proportion of employees working on its core technology proved to be no better, as only 16 percent of them are currently female, an increase of just 1 percent.

When Facebook released its first diversity report, Maxine Williams, its global head of diversity, stated that diversity is essential to achieving Facebook's mission. Upon the newest report's release, however, Williams admitted that Facebook is still not where it wants to be, declaring that Facebook "remain[s] deeply committed to building a workplace that reflects a broad range of experience, thought, geography, age, background, gender, sexual orientation, language, culture and many other characteristics."

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, has also vocalized his desire for the company to become more diverse. In May, Zuckerberg explained how Facebook wants its employees to reflect the population it serves, and he has also noted how there is "just so much research that shows diverse teams perform better at anything you're trying to do."

Keywords: minority trial lawyer, litigation, Facebook, diversity, Equal Employment Opportunity

Dustin W. Osborne is with Goldberg Segalla in Buffalo, New York.

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