Some older job seekers in California and throughout the country may not be recruited for certain jobs, and several related lawsuits are in progress. One 45-year-old woman found that her daughter was seeing job ads on Facebook that she was not. In December, the Communication Workers of America filed a lawsuit on her behalf and that of other workers against Facebook, T-Mobile and a number of other companies alleging age discrimination.
Employers are prohibited from discriminating against workers who are 40 and over, but the legal issue hinges on whether the recruitment methods constitute age discrimination. For example, one case is challenging the practices of employers who only recruit on college campuses. Another common practice is limiting the amount of experience a company will accept for a position. One attorney sued a company that would not accept more than seven years of experience, pointing out that most attorneys 40 and older would have over seven years of experience. A three-judge court of appeals overturned the decision of a lower court and ruled in his favor, but the company is appealing.
When the Washington state attorney general investigated the targeting of ads on Facebook for job seekers, the company signed an agreement to avoid exclusion on the basis of sexual orientation, nationality and race. However, it did not do the same for gender or age.
People who believe they are facing employment discrimination or harassment at the recruitment or hiring stage or after being hired on the basis of age or for other reasons may want to talk to an attorney. The attorney may be able to explain whether the actions constitute discrimination and what the employee should do next. For example, some behaviors may appear to be discriminatory, but they must be based on an employee’s membership in a protected class to get legal protection.