The ACLU, Outten & Golden LLP, and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) have filed the charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Facebook and 10 other employers, on behalf of the female workers. According to the lawsuit, Facebook posted job ads to male Facebook users only, and excluded women from receiving the ads.
The charges were filed on behalf of three female workers, CWA and the hundreds of thousands of female workers CWA represents. According to the charges, most of the employers’ male-targeted ads highlighted jobs in male-dominated fields. The lawsuit also alleges that Facebook delivers job ads selectively based on age and sex categories that employers specifically choose, and that Facebook earns revenue from these ads.
In general, online platforms are not liable for publishing content created by others; however, counsel for the workers asserts that Facebook can be held liable for: (1) creating and operating a system that allows 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; (2) delivering the gender- and age-based ads based on employers’ preferences; and (3) acting as a recruiter connecting employers with prospective employees.
In December of 2017, a similar lawsuit, Communications Workers of America et al. v. T-Mobile US Inc. et al., was filed against T-Mobile, Amazon, Cox Communications, and numerous other employers alleging a discriminatory practice of excluding older workers from receiving job ads on Facebook for available positions at their companies.
Employers, HR administrators, and risk managers should scrutinize recruiting practices to ensure that ads and other recruiting tools are targeted to a diverse group, unless there is a bona fide occupational qualification that can justify a specific group.
For more information about this lawsuit click here.