Senators Express Serious Concern Over the Ability of Job Advertisers to Discriminate on the Basis of Age on Facebook, Google and LinkedIn
Recently, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Susan Collins (R-ME), Ranking Member and Chairman of the Special Committee on Aging, wrote to Facebook, Google and LinkedIn to express serious concern over the use of advertising targeting tools on these platforms that allow employers to recruit potential employees in specific age ranges. The senators penned the letter in light of recent news reports on how targeted online job postings can become an avenue for age-based hiring discrimination if not properly managed.
Age discrimination “continues to occur, and changes in technology and the methods employers use to recruit, hire and manage workers have introduced new avenues by which employers may engage in illegal conduct,” the senators wrote. “As America’s workforce continues to age, it is imperative that protections for older workers are enforced and updated when necessary.”
In their letters, Sens. Casey and Collins also requested information on how often age-targeting is occurring in employment advertising on Facebook, Google and LinkedIn, and information on what steps these companies are taking to prevent age discrimination.
In February, Sens. Casey, Collins, Grassley and Leahy introduced the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA), which would fully restore the protections of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and make it easier to fight back against age discrimination. In 2009, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Gross v. FBL Financial Services re-interpreted ADEA and weakened it. As a result, workers that allege age discrimination must meet an undue legal burden not faced by workers alleging discrimination based on race, sex, national origin or religion. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the ADEA.
Earlier this month, the Special Committee on Aging held a hearing on aging and employment—during which Sen. Casey highlighted the issue of age discrimination and released a report that examines ways in which employers, workers and policymakers can work together to ensure that older workers are able to thrive in the workplace.