Texas residents seeking work through social media channels may have noticed companies advertising job openings on Facebook. However, these ads may have targeted Facebook users based on their age group. That may be a violation of employment laws designed to prevent age discrimination in the workplace. Companies such as Verizon and Target have used such ads to find workers, according to an investigation done by the New York Times and ProPublica.
It is believed that Verizon used targeted advertising to find financial planning job candidates between the ages of 25 and 36 among other criteria. Some believe that this in direct violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. It is a federal statute that prevents discrimination of those aged 40 or older. However, according to a representative from Facebook, it is generally used as one part of a broader recruiting effort.
Facebook was not the only online recruitment channel where job ads were targeted to younger people. Ads meant for those younger than 40 were shown on LinkedIn and Google. As a result of the investigation, LinkedIn did change its policies. Facebook has previously instituted changes that prevent certain ethnic or racial groups from seeing some ads. However, the company says that showing ads to younger audiences is nothing different than advertising in magazines aimed at a younger audience.
As a general rule, employers cannot make hiring or other employment decisions based on a person's age. If someone is a victim of workplace discrimination due to his or her age, it may be possible for him or her to take legal action against that employer. This may make it possible to obtain compensation in the form of back pay or punitive damages. Attorneys may review a company's hiring data to establish that a worker was discriminated against.