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Age-targeted ads might have been form of workplace discrimination

The advertising of job openings has shifted dramatically over recent years. Whereas in the past virtually anyone in Colorado could open up a newspaper or search a website for potential positions, many openings are now strictly advertised through targeted advertisements. However, there are some who believe that these advertisements are a distinct type of workplace discrimination.

A class-action lawsuit alleges that Facebook, Google and LinkedIn have all run job opening advertisements for other companies that were specifically targeted for younger age groups. Rather than designing the ads in such a way that might have appealed to site users under the age of 40, they were explicitly only shown to younger users. This essentially created an environment in which applicants younger than 40 were hired.

Age discrimination is illegal under the Employment Act of 1967, which applies to both the treatment of workers during the course of their employment and in hiring practices. Those who oppose the age-targeted advertisement of tech industry jobs point out that while employers are not bringing in and saying "no" to a candidate based on their age, they are putting themselves in positions in which they do not have to interview older candidates at all. Not only are companies allegedly acting in a discriminatory manner, they are also alienating valuable employees. Workers over the age of 40 tend to resign far less often than their younger counterparts, and a survey found that IT workers older than 55 find using technology in the workplace less stressful than their younger counterparts.

Workplace discrimination can take many forms. For some, it translates as receiving unfair performance reviews or missing out on promotions. Others face wrongful termination or are shunned the opportunity to even be fairly considered for a position in the first place. Discrimination suits pursued against employers are usually effective for helping Colorado victims recover compensation, which typically covers lost wages and related damages.

Source: techrepublic.com, "Tech companies admit to actively targeting younger workers for jobs", Alison DeNisco Rayome, Dec. 21, 2017

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