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Can a Facebook job posting get an employer into trouble?

The age of constant connectivity is upon us. We share pictures of our dinner with the entire Instagram universe. Politicians and celebrities make pivotal announcements via Twitter. And a growing number of Americans receive their news exclusively on Facebook.

Since everyone’s flocking to social media, it makes sense that employers would also use the platform to announce job openings. However, the manner in which they post such vacancies can be problematic. In today’s article, we examine important legal considerations of a Facebook job posting.

How Facebook ads work

Facebook uses advanced algorithms to make sure the right advertisements reach the right audience. When you create a Facebook ad, the website prompts you to define the type of people you want to see your post. If you’re advertising a beer festival in Sacramento, for instance, then you’d probably want to target self-proclaimed beer lovers, age 21 and over, who live within a 100-mile radius of the city. Conversely, you probably wouldn’t want a 16-year-old in Chicago to see your ad.

The problem

When employers create job postings on Facebook, they can define the same kinds of parameters. However, if employers only make a job ad visible to certain protected categories of people—e.g., certain age groups—they can run into legal trouble for age-based discrimination. There have been a string of lawsuits recently against leading employers for unfairly excluding older candidates from seeing Facebook job announcements.

Employment discrimination based on age, gender, religion or any other protected class is illegal. If you believe you’ve been the victim of unfair discrimination in your job search, it’s worth consulting with an employment attorney to discuss the details of your case.

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