Facebook has unlawfully discriminated against millions of women by exclusively running job ads aimed at men, according to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday.
The social network’s advanced advertising tools — allowing companies to show their ads to a select group and age of users — is the root of the problem, according to the ACLU. Facebook “targeted ads for jobs in male-dominated fields to younger male Facebook users only, excluding all women and non-binary individuals, as well as older male users,” the ACLU said in a blog post. In the process, Facebook violated decades-old civil and labor rights laws, according to the ACLU.
“There is no place for discrimination on Facebook; it’s strictly prohibited in our policies, and over the past year, we’ve strengthened our systems to further protect against misuse. We are reviewing the complaint and look forward to defending our practices.” — Facebook spokesperson Joe Osborne told TheWrap.
The ACLU’s complaint also names 10 companies that leveraged Facebook to strictly target male applicants. The companies are listed in its press release. One ad for JK Movers in Maryland recruited men between the ages of 23 to 50 to be drivers. Another, for Enhanced Roofing and Remodeling, looked for men in the same age range to apply for a roofing job.
The “archaic” discrimination allowed Facebook to “shut out” women from certain job opportunities, the organization claimed.
“When employers in male-dominated fields advertise their jobs only to men, it prevents women from breaking into those fields,” the ACLU added.
The ACLU’s charge will be reviewed by the EEOC, which will decide whether to file a lawsuit against Facebook. If the EEOC declines to sue, the ACLU can pursue a lawsuit on its own.