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Lawsuits claim older workers blocked from seeing online job ads

Most job seekers in New York turn to the internet, but the demographic targeting enabled by online advertisers appears to be preventing older job candidates from viewing job opportunities. Lawsuits on behalf of people who experienced age discrimination have begun to hit the court system. These cases could establish whether age filtering on job advertisements represents illegal conduct.

A suit filed by the Communications Workers of America against Facebook, T-Mobile and other companies directly calls out organizations for excluding older people. One of the plaintiffs, a 45-year-old woman, reported that daily visits to job sites revealed few open positions. Her 26-year-old daughter, however, had access to many job ads on Facebook and quickly found work.

The chief of staff for the CWA cited a recruitment ad from T-Mobile on Facebook. The company had restricted ad display to people between 18 and 38. The CWA official added that companies also block older workers by capping years of experience. This is the subject of another lawsuit. The plaintiff sued a company that refused him a job because he was deemed overqualified for a position that specifically restricted years of experience.

A state attorney general on the West Coast recently forged an agreement with Facebook to end discriminatory ad targeting that excluded people according to race, nationality or sexual orientation. The agreement did not apply to gender or age.

In addition to discriminatory hiring practices, older workers might have age discrimination to blame for wrongful termination or restricted opportunities for advancement. A person who suspects that a company violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act may wish to speak to an attorney. After evaluating evidence, an attorney may be able to prepare a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This might lead to a negotiated settlement for damages, or an attorney might present the case in court.

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