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EEOC says workplace discrimination extended to social media

Federal and California laws about how employees are treated do not just extend to those who have jobs, but also to those who are looking for one. Workplace discrimination can begin when an employer is looking to fill a position. Even an advertisement for a position either could blatantly or inadvertently discriminate against a potential employee.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently took action against several companies whose job ads on Facebook discriminated against women and older applicants. A total of 66 employers, one of which was the social media giant, came under scrutiny when complaints were filed against them for employment opportunity advertisements that could allegedly only be viewed by younger people and men. The EEOC's recent decision addressed complaints against seven of the companies involved, which suggests that the remaining complaints will also be successful. 

The decision ought to make it clear to all employers that they must comply with federal and California laws even when using the internet to attract applicants. The seven companies involved in the recent judgment argued that the law allowed them to narrow their advertisements in any way they pleased as long as they did not discriminate against anyone overall. The EEOC did not see it that way, hence the decision. 

This ruling could help numerous individuals who may not have realized they could file a complaint if they feel they suffered discrimination in the advertisement phase of their job searches. Excluding a protected group, such as women and older people at any point during the employment process could be considered workplace discrimination. Many employment law attorneys will probably keep their eyes on the cases against the remainder of these companies involved to determine whether the trend will continue and to ascertain how to better serve their clients.

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