Facebook accused of excluding women from recruitment adverts

Facebook accused of excluding women from recruitment adverts

Facebook’s advertising platform is facing legal action for allegedly allowing employers and agencies to target male users with jobs – excluding women and non-binary users, TechCrunch reports.

The class action lawsuit filed on behalf of three female workers and backed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), alleges that 10 employers and employment agency advertisers ran discriminatory job adverts.

The charges, filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claim that the job adverts in typically male-dominated fields including police, software development, retail and installation and repair companies, were selectively only shown to male Facebook users.

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The case alleges that Facebook delivered job adverts based on age and sex categories that employers selected and that it earns revenue from placing adverts that exclude women and older workers from being targeted.

“The internet did not erase our civil rights laws,” said Peter Romer-Friedman, an attorney at Outten & Golden, a law firm supporting the case.

“It violates the law if an employer uses Facebook to deny job ads to women."

“The last time I checked, you don’t have to be a man to be a truck driver or a police officer.  But Facebook and employers are acting like it’s the 1950s, before federal employment law banned sex discrimination.”

The ALCU says this action is unlawful under federal, state, and local civil rights laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Despite less regulation in the online space in comparison to publishing, the lawsuit argues that Facebook can be held accountable for:

  • Creating and operating the system that allows and encourages employers to select the gender and age of the people who get their job ads, including providing employers with data on users’ gender and age for targeting purposes;

  • delivering the gender- and age-based ads based on employers’ preferences; and

  • acting as a recruiter connecting employers with prospective employees

In a statement to Tech Crunch, a Facebook spokesperson said discrimination is strictly prohibited in their policies.

They added that they will soon require all advertises to comply with its anti-discrimination policies and the law.

However, this isn’t the first time the social media giant has been embroiled in a similar case.

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In May, Facebook’s policies came under investigation after a lawsuit alleged its job adverts excluded older jobseekers. Adverts used as evidence in the case included one for an Amazon fulfilment role which was only shown to people aged 18 to 54, and a T-Mobile careers ad aimed at people ages 18 to 38.

In the UK, the Equality Act 2010 forbids recruiters and employers from discriminating based on sex, age, gender or religion amongst other characteristics.

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