On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that Facebook and 10 of its advertisers violated federal civil rights laws by posting sex-segregated job listings.
Employers used Facebook’s ad targeting features to exclude women, non-binary individuals, and others outside the targeted group from seeing the employment opportunity.
According to the lawsuit, the job ads targeted to only men were positions in ‘well-paid, blue-collar fields from which women have traditionally been excluded.’
This type of job targeting is illegal under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which prohibits race and gender discrimination in employment.
ACLU claims Facebook enabled gender-biased job ads
ACLU attorney Galen Sherwin wrote “Facebook must change its platform to prevent advertisers from exploiting user data for discriminatory purposes, and ensure once and for all that all users, regardless of gender, race, age, or other protected status, are given a fair shake."
The lawsuit names Facebook, City of Greensboro North Carolina, Enhanced Roofing & Modeling, JK Moving Services, abas USA, and six other advertisers as perpetrators of discrimination against women in job ads.
ACLU proposes a class-action lawsuit to include millions of job seekers who primarily use the platform to search for jobs.
Facebook has faced intense scrutiny over potential gender discrimination related to ad targeting. The WIRED points out, Facebook’s ad-targeting tools allow employers to discriminate based on age and race.
Gender-targeted Facebook advertising may seem relatively harmless in the fashion industry, doing so for job advertisements is against the U.S. law.
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits race and gender discrimination in employment. The law applies to every stage of the employment process, including recruitment.
ACLU’s claims highlight how precarious it is to target candidates based on factors such as age or gender.
If an employer doesn’t want to target candidates which further perpetuates gender discrimination in ad targeting, it the best to review the language of your job postings?
Remove Gender Bias from Job Ads
When you’re competing to recruit top talent for your company, you can’t afford to make the mistake like some of the companies in the ACLU’s claims did.
Here’s the best way to remove gender bias from job ads:
- Replace biased terms with gender-neutral words
- Review pronouns
- Highlight family-friendly benefits
If you follow these basic steps, you should be able to create job listings that don’t propagate unconscious gender bias in the recruitment process.