Some employers are using Facebook’s ad targeting system to discriminate illegally based on gender. According to a new complaint, this would be the last chapter in a series of complaints of discrimination allowed in Facebook ads.
On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Outten & Golden law firm and the United States communications workers union filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Facebook and 10 other employers for allegedly using Facebook ads to discriminate potential job applicants.
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The complaint was filed on behalf of three women seeking employment and a group of “thousands” of members represented by the union. The aforementioned complainants also seek to represent a broader class of what the ACLU says are “millions” of Facebook users who may have been similarly impacted.
It is alleged that job postings on Facebook were aimed exclusively at male users, and that most of these listings were for positions in fields dominated by men. As a result, all women and non-binary users were excluded from receiving the announcements, according to the complaint.
“Employers probably think they should fill them with people who look like the people who currently hold those positions, the problem is that it’s illegal,” Galen Sherwin, a senior attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project.
The lawsuit alleges that Facebook allows advertisers to target job ads based on age and gender. This goes against federal and local laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In addition, the government can ban labor advertising that discriminates by sex, according to a Supreme Court ruling in 1973, says the demand.
“I should not miss the opportunity to know about a job opportunity just because I am a woman,” said Bobbi Spees, one of the three plaintiffs in the case, according to a press release.