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AARP Joins Class Action Charge Against Meta Claiming Job Ad Discrimination

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En español | AARP Foundation lawyers have joined a pending class action charge against social media giant Meta, alleging that technology the company uses to decide what job advertisements show up on Facebook discriminates against women and older job seekers.

REAL Women in Trucking (RWIT), a group representing female truck drivers, filed the charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) in December 2022 against Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms. It alleges that the algorithm the company employs to target ads to its social media users steered some job ads away from women and older workers, a violation of federal employment laws.

According to the charge, the algorithm failed to show employment ads to older adults and women if the job was stereotypically associated with men or younger workers, such as truck drivers and mechanics.

By intentionally excluding older workers from seeing many job advertisements based on “ageist assumptions,” Meta’s algorithm is “further fortifying the already significant barriers” older adults face in the job market, AARP Foundation lawyers wrote in a filing with the EEOC.

This is not the first time Facebook has been accused of discrimination over how it targets job ads. In 2019, the company settled multiple lawsuits alleging it was permitting advertisers on its website to direct ads only to people who fit certain characteristics.

The latest charge, pending before the EEOC, alleges Facebook’s algorithm steers the ads away from older workers and women even if this is not what the employer who paid for the ads asked for or intended.

Age and gender discrimination have been pervasive in hiring practices for too long, and new technologies are creating even more barriers that keep qualified older job seekers out of the workforce,” said William Alvarado Rivera, senior vice president for litigation at AARP Foundation. “This case aims to ensure older adults have equal footing during their job search, regardless of the industry and any age or gender stereotypes that may be attached to that industry.”

Read more about the case, and find out more about AARP Foundation and its legal advocacy on behalf of people 50 and older.

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