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AARP Foundation Joins Class Action Charge Claiming Meta's Job Ad-Delivery Algorithm Discriminates Against Older Workers and Women Workers

Press Release: WASHINGTON--AARP Foundation attorneys have joined a class action

charge that is pending before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Meta Platforms, Inc. (the owner of Facebook). The class action charge was filed in December 2022 by REAL Women in Trucking (RWIT), a nonprofit that advocates for women truck drivers.

RWIT alleges that Meta applies an ad-delivery algorithm that relies on the age and gender of each user to determine which job advertisements those users will receive. In doing so, Meta has routinely steered job ads away from older people and women that employers pay Meta to show on Facebook—even when the advertiser wants to share its ad with people of all ages and genders.


RWIT alleges that Meta’s ad-delivery algorithm intentionally discriminates based on age and gender and perpetuates ageist and sexist stereotypes. For example, Meta will routinely steer ads away from workers who are 55 or older when the algorithm considers the job best suited for younger workers, and away from women when the algorithm associates the job with men (like truck drivers or mechanics). In some cases, although employers directed Facebook to send their job ads to people of all genders and ages, Meta delivered the ads to users who are over 99% male or 99% under 55 years old — despite the fact that women are 54% of the Facebook users who are interested in job hunting, and people 55 and older are over 28% of the same group of users.


“Age and gender discrimination have been pervasive in hiring practices for too long, and new technologies are creating even more barriers that keep qualified older jobseekers out of the workforce,” said William Alvarado Rivera, Senior Vice President for Litigation at AARP Foundation. “This case aims to ensure older adults have equal footing during their digital job search, regardless of the industry and any age or gender stereotypes that may be attached to that industry.”


The pending EEOC charge highlights more than 75 job postings, across various industries, that demonstrate that the ad-delivery algorithm disfavors older adults and women. The lawsuit claims these practices violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which make it unlawful for employers to discriminate when advertising jobs. In 2019, the EEOC declared that steering job ads away from employees on Facebook violates the ADEA and Title VII for employers. The RWIT charge asks the EEOC to extend that ruling to Meta.  


“We applaud AARP Foundation for taking a stand against digital discrimination,” said Peter Romer-Friedman of the law firm Peter Romer-Friedman Law PLLC, representing RWIT in the case. “It’s unlawful and wrong to deny job advertisements to workers because of their age or gender. We hope that the EEOC will take bold action to hold Meta accountable for its longstanding pattern of discrimination in job advertising.” 


RWIT is also represented by Upturn, a non-profit legal advocacy organization. The EEOC is currently investigating the charge. The AARP Foundation attorneys working on this case are Elizabeth Aniskevich, Daniel Kohrman, and Lauren Naylor. RWIT and their counsel seek to reform Meta’s ad-delivery practices for employment ads, so that all workers, regardless of age or gender, have equal access to job opportunities on the social-media giant’s platform. They also seek to secure compensation for workers whose rights were violated.

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About AARP Foundation

AARP Foundation works for and with vulnerable people over 50 to end senior poverty and reduce financial hardship by building economic opportunity. As a philanthropic affiliate of AARP, we serve AARP members and nonmembers alike. Through vigorous legal advocacy and evidence-based solutions, and by strengthening supportive community connections, we foster resilience, advance equity and restore hope. To learn more, visit aarpfoundation.org or follow @AARPFoundation on social media.

 

For further information: Madison Daniels, mdaniels@aarp.org, 202-531-9026

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