Today social media platforms, including Facebook and LinkedIn, allow employers to target their job listings based on various characteristics of the users they wish to reach. As a result, employers can theoretically identify better candidates while expending fewer resources. However, these ad platforms have drawn the ire of certain plaintiffs’ law firms and, more recently, the EEOC.
Facebook launched its job application tool in February 2017. The application allowed employers to target their job postings based on a variety of criteria, including a user’s age and gender. In December 2017, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) filed suit in the Northern District of California against T-Mobile, Amazon, and Cox Communications (plus a potential class of hundreds of other employers) for allegedly excluding older workers from receiving job ads in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. That case has largely remained mired in motions to dismiss. However, beginning in January 2018, the CWA also filed at least 66 charges with the EEOC making similar allegations of age and gender discrimination.
In March 2019, Facebook and the CWA reached a settlement under which Facebook agreed to make major changes to its platform for job, housing, and credit ads in September 2019. Also in September 2019, the EEOC issued seven reasonable cause findings against employers, finding reasonable cause that those employers violated Title VII and the ADEA by targeting job ads based on gender and age. FULL ARTICLE