The Tel Aviv District Labor Court was last week asked to approve a class action suit against Facebook for allegedly encouraging discrimination against older people in its management system for ad campaigns, which allow restrictions in the age ranges in potential exposure for job advertisements.
According to Advs. Matan Gutman and Nir Friedman who filed the class action suit, personal and focused ad tool that Facebook has developed allows and encourages companies to place job ads on social media which discriminate and exclude people based on age, gender and place of residence. Consequently, many people, especially those over 40, are not exposed to major job opportunities.
Among those behind the class action suit is Alla Lev, and experience sales and marketing executive who was born in 1967 and is denied exposure to job ads by Facebook’s tools.
In order to place a jobs ad on Facebook, human resources managers must enter Facebook’s campaign management system, as with any type of advertisement. The system facilitates segmentation in order to focus the ad to target audiences according to age, gender, place of residence, language and hobbies.
Many such ads from tech companies and placement agencies and even government companies use this targeting. However, although the class action gives examples, the suit itself is directed against Facebook and not the companies placing alleged discriminatory ads.
Among the companies mentioned in the class action suit for placing such ads are Playtika, Tailor Brands, Sensibo, Elementor, and 888 as well as the Israel Electric Corp. and Bank of Israel. One medical institution in Central Israel restricted an ad for a sales call center manager to men aged between 30 and 45.
Gambling company 888, for example, placed two ads for different management vacancies for people aged between 25 and 39. Sensibo did not expose its ads to anyone over 40 and other companies like Playtika and Tailor Brands set an upper age limit of 45.
Elementor, whose founders are haredi, is known for the social diversity of its work force and integrating staff from Israel’s social periphery. But it advertised for a commercial partnerships manager aged 26-50.
Elementor VP HR Ariela Bichler said, “Today Elementor’s employees comes from throughout the country and the world, from all genders, population sectors and religions, between the ages of 21 and 61 and not only the range of ages that appears in some of the ads. We proactively hired these employees from a broad spectrum of ages in order to work at the company.
Our rate of growth is one of the fastest in the country and we are proud of the range of our employees and make it our concern to diversify work teams in the company.”
Adv. Gutman said, “The Equal Opportunities in Employment Law explicitly prohibits advertising discriminatory ads. Clause 8 of the Law sets that it is prohibited to publish advertisements which discriminate according to gender, age, race, place of residence etc. If we compare Facebook to the old world, it is like contacting a newspaper and asking to publish an advertisement and the service representative of the newspaper proposing that the employer advertise only for men, or young people aged 25 to 35 from North Tel Aviv. It is clear that such an action would be prohibited in the physical world and so it is surely prohibited in the online world.”
Following lawsuits by human rights organizations in the US and Canada, Facebook has already stopped the practice there of allowing advertisers for jobs to target their ads and Facebook has launched a designated job ads page which is open to all.
The Israeli lawsuit does not state how much compensation is being demanded. The Equal Opportunities in Employment Law allows for up to NIS 50,000 compensation per discriminatory ad without the need to prove damage, so that potentially Facebook could be asked to pay hundreds of billions of dollars to hundreds of thousands of job seekers.
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on September 29, 2021
Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2021