British Companies were accused of provoking age-based discrimination through their job advertisement on Facebook which allows them to relay older candidates from seeing the job postings. The advertisement and the publishers were heavily criticized for gestures termed as targeted or class action and are not viable for a society.
Shell, a UK based Petroleum company, ran a Facebook advertisement calling for job seekers to be part of a better future restricting the age of candidates who can see those. While it can be completely understood as the needs of longer-termed employees for the company, it received flak for denying opportunities to older age people. The firm had used Facebook targeted-advertisement tool to ensure that only those in the age bracket of 18-35 should see the sponsored post in their feed. This led to a widespread criticism involving Facebook too. Sunday Times found more than three similar companies including the Retirement Firm, who had set age limits on their Facebook posts to restrict who could see their ads.
How Has It Breached The Legal Parameters?
After the Sunday Times posted such article, some of the experts raised the question of whether it is fair for the employers to target specific age groups for job ads especially at a time when the older people have been finding it hard to get the job. The question also included Facebook if it should have made such a tool to exclude a specific age group while posting an advertisement. Some experts in the legal field also asked if the age-targeted job ads are in compliance with the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which forbids prejudice against people aged 40 or older in employment or hiring situations.
What does Facebook have to say about it?
Facebook, which has been widely criticized on many occasions this entire month, let out a defense statement which read, ‘Used responsibly, age-based targeting for employment purposes is an accepted industry practice that helps employers recruit and people of all ages find work’. The company did also mention that it has been protected by the Communications Decency Act.
LinkedIn also clarified on the issue saying that it now has a self-certification step in its tools which requires the employers to declare that they will not discriminate based on age if they are creating job ads while Google said it will still permit the practice
Who were the defaulters?
Apart from Shell, three other firms were found to have been using the similar practice of barring a certain section of people from receiving the job ads. HubPost targeted people with age group between 27 to 40 years and it did come out with an apology statement right after the criticism went viral. It labeled the ads as a mistake for using the Facebook’s age targeting feature for a job advertisement.
Ellie Bothello, HubSpot Spokeswomen, in an interview to BostInno said that the job listing was posted on various sites including the company’s website and that it was one of the several paid experiments the company ran between October and November. ‘Use of the targeted age range selection on the Facebook ad was frankly a mistake on our part given our lack of experience using that platform for job postings and not a feature we will use again’, she added.