A child sits at a CEO desk illustrating age discrimination in the workplace

Is Facebook Committing Age Discrimination in a Brand New Way?

Technology is definitely changing the way we do business, but this isn’t always a good thing. Several large businesses were recently caught using Facebook ad targeting to tailor job advertisements to a younger audience. In the corporate world, this is commonly known as age discrimination.

These companies are using Facebook's ad-targeting to limit who can see their advertisements for open positions based on demographic information. The New York Times and the non-profit organization, Propublica, discovered the practice. Their investigation caught multiple large corporations using this strategy. The list includes Verizon, Target, and even Facebook itself.

36 is the New Old for Hiring

The age-cap was set as low as 36 by some companies, leaving out a huge portion of qualified candidates. Propublica and the New York Times claim this violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Facebook has defended these actions, stating that it is an “accepted industry practice”.

While this sounds like a good defense, it’s still concerning to think a company can weed out people based on simple demographic information. Only now, this happens on the most basic level of hiring: the notice that help is wanted.

Facebook Ad-Targeting Allows Quiet Age Discrimination

Business is changing at a fast pace. Offices are becoming more modern, and some companies even allow employees to determine their own hours. Companies are streamlining every part of the working process, so it makes sense to streamline the hiring process as well.

However, the use of ad targeting does give large businesses a real opportunity to quietly discriminate. While ageism is in the news today, other companies have been caught using the ad-targeting system to discriminate against other groups in their hiring. What’s in question here is not the ability to use ad targeting for job advertisements, it’s how far companies might go when using it.

Ageism is Actually Bad for Business

It is easy to see why a company would prefer a young hire. Younger candidates are less experienced, earn less money, and are more likely to have the availability to work longer hours. They are often current on the latest technology and social media trends as well. The question still remains, are companies making the right choice?

It’s true that a younger hire may cost less, but they also need more training. Instead of simply learning how your office functions, they may be entering an office-environment for the first time. There’s a lot to learn about corporate culture that can only come from experience.

A diverse group of employees

Diverse Hiring is the Smart Option

That’s why it’s smart for businesses to diversify in their hiring practices and avoid age discrimination. A good mix of employees of all ages ensures that you have seasoned employees who can adequately guide the young hires. That’s how community has always worked and make no mistake: your office is a team, and a team is a community.

One of the biggest complaints large companies have about Millennial workers is that they don’t understand how to function in an office environment. This is why so many offices are changing how they do things. However, it has always been true that young hires have to be taught this skill.

There is only so much that can change in an office setting, and it helps to have a system in place that teaches Millenials how to function in an office environment. In this scenario, both sides are learning and growing. Your business is getting streamlined, and your young hires are learning to fit in to the aspects of your environment that simply can’t be changed.

What do you think? Do younger people need to learn how to function in an office environment? Have you ever experienced age discrimination, either as a younger or older employee? Let us know in the comments!

Kim Beasley

Kim is a Social Media Strategist who loves developing WordPress websites and managing social media for her clients. Being passionate about helping business owners to grow their visibility, Kim loves to connect people and technology.After spending almost 20 years in Corporate America as a Technical Project Manager, Kim decided that she wanted to focus more on entrepreneurs and use her MBA in eBusiness to help them grow their online presence. Kim has also participated in Hangouts on Air with news organization such as: NPR, HuffPost Live, FOX, BBC, Business2Community.com and NBC.

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