The latest target of the plaintiff’s overly-aggressive tactics—a company’s use of recruitment ads in hiring employees.  All industries and all forms of advertising are potentially coming under attack, including social media platforms and websites dedicated to employee recruiting.  Specifically, the plaintiff’s bar has repeatedly targeted certain advertisements on social media sites that encourage individuals to apply for jobs at their company, using information obtained from user profiles.

What is the claim?

The legal argument being asserted is that the advertisements are alleged class violations of federal, state, and local laws that prohibit age discrimination in employment advertising, recruitment, sourcing, and hiring, including the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).  The theory is as follows: certain social media sites have a feature that allows a user to see the reason they were identified to receive a particular advertisement.  The language under the targeted advertisement might state, for example, that the company intends for the ad to reach a certain demographic, i.e. people ages 28 to 45 who live or were recently in the United States.  The plaintiff’s bar is seizing upon this type of advertisement and language to allege that the plaintiff is in receipt of direct evidence that the company “regularly targets younger prospective job applicants on [social media sites]” and, therefore, that the Company is likely engaged in other forms of hiring discrimination.  Based on these ads and these allegations, the plaintiff’s bar is threatening legal action—including filing class and associational charges of discrimination with federal, state, and/or local agencies.

How can we help?

Our Class Actions and Complex Litigation team has been tracking this issue very closely.  Our goal in bringing these lawsuits to your attention is to provide information and advance notice around a potentially serious issue.  To respond to these threats, Jackson Lewis has put together an internal team to provide an immediate response and to efficiently handle the defense of this issue.  If you have any questions, or if you would like to discuss your Company’s recruiting and hiring practices in more detail, please reach out to Stephanie Adler-Paindiris, Paul Patten, and Eric Magnus.