Facebook has been accused of age discrimination after they enabled several employers such as Amazon, T-Mobile US Inc. and Verizon to impose age limits on who could see their recruitment ads. This meant that millions of older American Facebook users wouldn’t have access to these job ads.
An investigation carried out by the New York Times and ProPublica revealed that Facebook had restricted the recruitment ads for users aged between 25 to 36, who lived in Washington DC and demonstrated an interest in finance. This shows an older worker with lots of experience in finance and who lives in Washington DC would never see the ad.
Facebook Careers have also uploaded a job ad for their engineering department. The ad would only be accessible to users aged between 21 to 55 and who lived in the United States of America. Debra Katz, a Washington employment lawyer who represents victims of discrimination described the incident as “blatantly awful”.
Facebook haven’t been named as a defendant but they have been accused in the lawsuit of engaging in the practice in its own recruitment efforts, said in a statement they do not engage in age discrimination.
The social media service has responded saying they were demonstrating a common industry practise. Facebook’s vice president, Rob Goldman, stated: “We completely reject the allegation that these advertisements are discriminatory”. He also said “used responsibly, age-based targeting for employment purposes in an accepted industry practice and for good reason: it helps employer recruit and people of all ages find work”.
A spokesperson for Amazon is believed to have reviewed the way their ads were delivered on Facebook and they have found their ads were ‘inconsistent with our approach of searching for any candidate over the age of 18’. They have since corrected these ads.
Individuals are being denied job opportunities to individuals who are interested in looking for a new job. This reduces the number of older workers and will also decrease their satisfaction because they can’t find a job.
Businesses who discriminate against older workers will lose out on the extensive work experience and knowledge that older employees have. The knowledge and experience can be put to good use to help benefit a business. It could take a business a long time to hire a young employee with no relevant skills or knowledge and get them on the same level as an older employee.
Age discrimination can be hurtful to older individual’s self-esteem and it can even have an impact on their health. The majority of senior workers are often spoken down to or even made to feel invisible by younger people because of their age.
Employers should be encouraging diversity within their workplace. If a company is hiring young employees, it would be extremely beneficial to have their older workers teach and train the younger workers. This is because the older employees will have all the appropriate and relevant skills and knowledge that the younger workers will need.
If you have any questions or need any advice in relation to age discrimination, please contact a member of the HPC team:
T: 0844 800 5932