AARP, the largest advocacy group for older Americans, along with two members of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, is urging employers to cease targeting only younger workers in their recruitment ads on Facebook and other websites.
Nancy LeaMond, AARP’s executive vice president, stated that in the digital age, age discrimination is still very much alive. She is urging web platforms to take steps to do away with recruiting that discriminates on older workers.
Susan Collins, Republican senator of Maine, and Robert Casey, Democratic senator of Pennsylvania, who are part of the Senate Aging Committee, joined AARP in writing to Facebook, LinkedIn and Google in December 2018 to inquire how employment ads target people of specific age groups. They also asked whether any safeguards were in place to prevent age discrimination.
The senators wrote that targeting employment ads only to certain age groups leads to the loss of potentially valuable employment opportunities. They stressed that this practice opens the door to age discrimination, which is illegal throughout the country.
The senators and AARP reacted to a report by ProPublica from December 2017, and an article by The New York Times that explored how many top employers in the U.S., particularly Facebook, limit their target in job ads, setting the ads to appeal to younger age groups and not to older individuals. Micro-targeting can easily become discrimination when protected groups are deliberately committed.
The same day the article and report came out, there was a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco against major employers for denying employment opportunities to older age groups by preventing them from seeing the ads on Facebook. The Communications Workers of America filed the suit on behalf of its members and all Facebook users 40 and older.
Through its report, ProPublica determined that LinkedIn and Google are also guilty of targeting job ads by age group. LinkedIn has since taken measures to change its policy while Facebook and Google defended the practice.
AARP and the senators said that with this age targeting tactic, the 1967 law that makes it illegal to discriminate against people 40 and older in hiring and employment needs to be updated. LeMond stated that new technology needs new attention.
Other groups are unhappy with the practices. The National Employment Law Project’s executive director, Christine Owens, said that discrimination has to stop. Maura Porcelli, managing director of the Senior Community Service Employment Program at the National Council on Aging, said that it’s sad that employers would choose not to make job ads visible to people based on their age or for any other discriminatory reason. She pointed out that older workers are just as valuable in the workforce as younger ones and offer superior expertise but that, sadly, some employers don’t appreciate that.
Age discrimination is illegal throughout the United States. If you have an employment lawsuit, call attorney Nathan Davidovich of Davidovich Law Firm, LLC at 303-825-5529. With more than 55 years of experience, our Colorado law firm has helped thousands of other clients settle their workplace disputes. To talk to a lawyer about your case, fill out our contact form. We will advise you on the best course of action to take at this time.