CWA, the ACLU, and Outten & Golden LLP filed charges this week with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Facebook and 10 other employers for unlawfully discriminating on the basis of gender by targeting their job ads on Facebook to male Facebook users only – excluding all women and non-binary users from receiving the ads. Targeting job ads by sex is unlawful under federal, state, and local civil rights laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“Our members have been on the frontlines ensuring that women have opportunities to apply to and be hired for any job they’re qualified to do,” said CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens. “Despite the progress we have made, stereotypes and biases clearly still influence corporate hiring strategies. Shame on these employers for targeting ads based on gender, and shame on Facebook for facilitating this practice.”
Facebook has come under heavy scrutiny about its paid advertising platform and whether it allows and encourages advertisers to engage in prohibited discrimination based on protected categories like race, national origin, age, and gender. The charges filed this week allege that Facebook delivers job ads selectively based on age and sex categories that employers expressly choose, and that Facebook earns revenue from placing job ads that exclude women and older workers from receiving the ads.
“I’ve heard stories about when people looked for jobs in the classified ads and big bold letters read ‘help wanted-male’ or ‘help wanted-female.’ I was shocked to find that this discrimination is still happening, just online instead of in newspapers,” said Bobbi Spees, a job-seeker and lead complainant in the case. “I shouldn’t be shut out of the chance to hear about a job opportunity just because I am a woman.”