Facebook has faced criticism in the past about its technology being used by landlords and other people to discriminate on the race. The company has also been accused of letting its technology be used for age discrimination by employers, and it’s now being accused of helping employers exclude female candidates from recruiting campaigns ran on the platform. The job seekers are teaming up with the Communications Workers of America and the American Civil Liberty Union to file charges with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the social media company.
The charges involve nine other employers that have allegedly used Facebook to discriminate women in recruiting campaigns. It looks like the employers used the targeted ad options offered by Facebook to exclude women from the users on the platform who can see their job ads. The ads are used to recruit candidates for several job openings including truck drivers and window installers.
The charges were filed on behalf of women who searched for jobs ads on Facebook over the past 12 months. It’s not clear whether these complaints have any basis. However, one Washington-based employment lawyer who spoke to the NBC News appeared to suggest that if these allegations are true then federal laws have been broken.
The law forbids any employer or recruiting agency from discriminating potential recruits on the basis of gender, race and other categories. There are additional laws in some states too that forbid aiding and abetting discrimination on the basis of the above categories. However, Facebook has issued a statement saying that there’s no place for discrimination on its platform. A spokesman for the social media company also revealed that Facebook is reviewing the complaints lodged by this group in order to defend its practices.
The group says that there are many people on the platform who are seeing certain job ads simply because they are males aged between a predetermined age group. For example, the group says that one ad posted by Nebraska Furniture Mart of Texas looking for people to assemble and prepare merchandise for delivery deliberately targeted men between the ages of 18 and 50. This ad was running between October 2017 and August 2018. An attempt by the New York Times to reach out to this company for a comment wasn’t fruitful. The NYT contacted two other companies involved in these allegations but they didn’t comment on the matter either.
Nonetheless, employers who have been engulfed in such accusations in the past have defended themselves by claiming that Facebook is just one of the many platforms they use to recruit employees. But the lawyers representing the group maintain that since Facebook is one of the biggest recruiting platforms, it must be held accountable if its service is used in discriminatory recruitment campaigns by independent employers. They argue that after all, Facebook does give employers a chance to select which genders to target with their ads. The options are three, female only, male only, and all. The lawyers say that making the first or the second choice constitutes a breach of federal law.