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Can employers exhibit age discrimination in job advertising?

You may have heard of age discrimination in the workplace. But what about age discrimination in a job vacancy announcement? That’s the allegation behind a new class-action lawsuit, which claims that certain large employers are unfairly using Facebook ad targeting to zero in on younger job applicants.

There has been a growing trend by employers in recent years to advertise employment vacancies on social media. Facebook ads are one of the most popular avenues for such advertising.

How does Facebook ad targeting work?

When you create a Facebook ad, you’re prompted to fill out a form detailing the audience demographic you’re trying to reach. You can filter according to users’ interests, age and geographic location—among other factors. For example, if your microbrewery is hosting a beer festival in Miami, you might create an ad targeting beer enthusiasts age 21 and over who live within a 50-mile radius. Seems pretty straightforward, right?

Not necessarily. Facebook targeting creates an ethical gray area when it comes to job postings. If a recruiter posts a job announcement and only makes it visible to Facebook users under the age of 40, then an entire subset of the job-seeking population misses the opportunity to even apply.

Legal recourse

Verizon, Amazon, Target and Facebook are on the growing list of big-name employers that have been accused of publishing job announcements in this way. They’re being sued for age discrimination.

If you believe you’ve been the victim of age discrimination through unfair job advertising on social media, talk to an attorney experienced in employment law about your options for joining this class-action lawsuit.

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