Employer Discrimination Lawsuits: Facebook Job Ads Allow Unlawful Hiring Bias

When an employer sets out to recruit young people, men, white people, Christians, those without disabilities or other groups, this can be a violation of federal and state labor laws against employment discrimination. Specifically, such claims might be filed under the following umbrellas:

  • Age discrimination
  • Gender discrimination
  • Racial discrimination
  • Religions discrimination
  • Disability discriminationemployment discrimination attorney

A number of lawsuits filed recently against social media giant Facebook and numerous employers who advertise and head-hunt for workers on its platforms accuse the defendants of discriminatory advertising and hiring. If a person in a protected class is denied opportunity in the workforce because of their membership in that class, this is illegal.

In California, state law (specifically the Fair Employment and Housing Act and the California Family Rights Act) prohibits employment discrimination in the process of hiring, promotion/ demotion, transfers, wages, termination and other aspects of employment. Los Angeles employment discrimination law firms work to combat these types of acts by holding offenders accountable. 

How Social Media Job Ads Can Discriminate

The recent complaint against Facebook and nearly a dozen employers (filed by the ACLU with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) alleges defendant employers used these advertisements to discriminate against potential job seekers. In one case, complaint was filed on behalf of three female job seekers and potentially thousands (or even millions!) of others, given Facebook’s broad audience reach. The claim alleges the ads were targeted expressly to male social media users for industries that are primarily dominated by men. The result was female social media users were excluded from ever seeing the ads, thus having the opportunity to respond.

Another complaint involving alleged age discrimination via Facebook’s employment advertisements claimed a communications company tailored its social media ads to nationally recruit store employee applicants ages 18 to 38 – meaning prospective older workers never saw those same advertisements.

Unlawful Job Discrimination in Advertising

As explained by one of the employment discrimination lawyers handling that case, employers believe they need to seek out for the positions those they “think” are most likely to respond. In this case, that is men. The problem, attorneys say, is that is illegal.

This and other complaints allege that the Facebook job advertisements allow companies to tailor their recruitment efforts to certain groups, such as white male Christians. In so doing, the allegation is they violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Further, the government can bar employment ads that discriminate on the basis of gender, as affirmed by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued nine years after the Civil Rights Act passed. The particular statute on which these cases rely are 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2(a) and 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2(b). The statute says it is unlawful for an employer to limit, segregate or classify employees or applicants in any way that would deprive (or tend to deprive) any individual of employment opportunities on the basis of protected status, which includes¬†race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The same applies to employment agencies who fail or refuse to refer individuals for employment on these bases. It’s considered unlawful discrimination.

If you believe you may have been denied an opportunity to apply for a job due to unlawfully-tailored social media advertisements, an experienced Los Angeles employment discrimination attorney can help.

Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 714-937-2020.

Additional Resources:

Facebook accused of bias in job ads that let companies target men, exclude women, September 2018, By Jessica Guynn, USA Today

More Blog Entries:

DOJ: Asian American Students Discriminated Against in Higher Ed, Aug. 26, 2018, Los Angeles Gender Discrimination Attorney Blog