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Age discrimination in job ads on Facebook sparks a lawsuit

A federal lawsuit has been filed against Amazon, T-Mobile and others for allegedly discriminating against older employees. The companies placed recruitment ads on Facebook that were targeted to specific age groups. The lawsuit states that the age based targeting practice violates the Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA).


Targeting specific age groups

Enacted in 1967, ADEA protects workers age 40 and older from discrimination in the workplace, including being turned down for a job opportunity based on age. The lawsuit accuses the companies of targeting only younger workers, for example workers ages 26-35 for a position.

Amazon had ads that targeted various age groups, ranging from 18-55, depending on the position. While their targeted range of ages was significantly wider than other companies, the ads still failed to target workers over 55 years old. After the pending litigation was announced, Amazon said the ads were “inconsistent with our approach of searching for any candidate over the age of 18,” and that the ad targeting had been “corrected.”

Problems with age based targeting

While Facebook is named in the lawsuit for using the targeting practices, they are currently not a defendant. However, Facebook has faced lawsuits in the past for racial and age discrimination practices. The company defends the targeting practices as a cornerstone of their business model, claiming they are not discriminatory.

One of the issues with this type of exclusion is that job seekers may not even realize they are being discriminated against since they do not see the recruitment ads. Older employees were denied the chance to even learn about the job openings, leaving the job market dominated by younger workers.

Older workers have years of experience and in depth knowledge to offer companies and should not be excluded from work opportunities based on their age. Age discrimination is illegal and workers facing discrimination have options available.

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