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Actively Seeking One Class To Apply Is Discrimination: What Family Employers Should Consider

Several employers committed age and gender discrimination by targeting their Facebook ads to prevent older individuals and women from seeing them, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).


The EEOC ruled in July that there was reasonable cause to determine that Capital One, Edwards Jones, Enterprise Holdings, and DriveTime Automotive Group were guilty of illegal age discrimination. It also ruled that Nebraska Furniture Mart, Renewal by Andersen LLC, and Sandhills Publishing Company were guilty of both age and gender discrimination.


The EEOC determined that these organizations' 2018 advertisements violated civil rights law by keeping women and/or individuals over 40 from seeing job ads. Now, the seven employers can either settle with the EEOC or go to court.


Facebook said it will take measures to prevent future discrimination by changing how employers, landlords, and creditors can target ads.


This is the first EEOC ruling concerning Facebook ads. However, the EEOC has received many more complaints about targeted Facebook ads.

Ariana Tobin "Employers Used Facebook to Keep Women and Older Workers From Seeing Job Ads. The Federal Government Thinks That's Illegal." (Sep. 24, 2019).


Commentary and Checklist


Targeting job postings to eliminate any protected class is illegal.


For example, a family employer who purposefully places an online ad for a nanny that appears on online publications meant for Millennials may be found to be committing age discrimination, even if the employer is not excluding, within the ad itself, older candidates. 


If you use a recruiting organization, make sure to choose a reputable one. Ask them about the procedures they have in place to make sure job ads are not discriminatory. Select an organization that diversifies by advertising in multiple neighborhoods, languages, online sites, and print publications. 


Word of mouth can be a useful way to find applicants, but can also leave you open to charges of discrimination. For example, if you have filled the last several open positions with acquaintances of your Hispanic housekeeper who are also Hispanic, without making the position known to non-Hispanic candidates, this could potentially create an exposure.


Here are some more tips family employers should follow to help prevent discrimination in hiring:


·      Create objective job descriptions that focus on specific skills needed for the position. Be clear about the requirements for the position.

·      Review existing hiring practices and eliminate any practice that is meant to exclude or eliminate a specific member of a protected category.

·      Review job recruitment policies and procedures to make sure job openings are marketed to the entire community.

·      Develop interview questions that do not involve information about a protected category.

·      Train supervisors and other hiring staff on state and federal laws surrounding discrimination.

·      Provide instructions on interviewing techniques and topics to avoid during the interview.

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