Filtering tools could discriminate against older workers

If companies in Texas and throughout the country use social media to target younger job seekers, that could be a form of age discrimination. According to a claim by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), older workers missed out on job opportunities because they were not shown ads for those positions. Companies such as Amazon and T-Mobile were said to make use of Facebook's filtering tools to exclude older job seekers.

In an amended filing, Facebook is said to filter advertisements by age to fill its own positions. However, Facebook is not a defendant in the case. It is believed that hundreds of companies not named in the complaint make use of filtering tools when advertising available job opportunities. A complaint was filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in January, but the organization did not confirm that this was accurate.

The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging has asked for information from the social media platform, and a lawyer for the CWA urged that a full investigation be initiated into the matter. Facebook says that it takes steps to inform companies about their legal obligations when posting job advertisements. The company did say that when used in a responsible and lawful manner, targeting job candidates by age was an acceptable practice and helpful to workers of all ages.

Hiring practices that have a disparate impact on older workers or others with a protected status are generally illegal. Individuals who were unable to see job postings or were otherwise denied job opportunities based on their age or other attributes could have grounds for a lawsuit. If successful, it may be possible to obtain compensation in the form of punitive and other damages either in a lawsuit or through a settlement negotiated outside of court.

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