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Filtered ads give rise to employment discrimination claims

The Communications Workers of America has filed suit on behalf of several plaintiffs against Facebook, T-Mobile and a number of other large companies. The suit alleges that the defendant companies have engaged in prohibited employment discrimination by targeting employment ads at young workers. The final ruling of the case could have a major impact on age discrimination in New York.

The vice president of ads for Facebook went on record in a December blog post, arguing that targeted ads are not against the law as long as the campaign overall has been designed to hit all demographics. According to one plaintiff in the lawsuit, however, that is not what she experienced. The 45-year-old plaintiff said she would certainly have noticed ads for employment because she was looking for employment.

The laws covering workplace civil rights make it illegal to discriminate against workers who are 40 years of age or older. Worker advocate groups say companies and recruiters sometimes exclude older workers by virtue of where and how they look for new employees. In July 2018, under pressure from the attorney general of the state of Washington, Facebook signed a pledge to stop letting its advertisers filter out people from seeing ads based on sexual orientation, race or nationality.

Other cases have challenged the legality of capping the number of years of experience an applicant can have and the practice of recruiting new employees exclusively on college campuses. In cases like these, the plaintiffs are generally claiming that the hiring process is discriminatory in its effect.

People who believe they have been subjected to employment discrimination might want to speak with legal counsel. An attorney with experience in employment law might be able to help by examining the facts of the case and attempting to negotiate a solution with the employer. If the case cannot be settled, an attorney might draft and file a complaint for relief in civil court.

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