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Are targeted ads a form of workplace discrimination?

Gender discrimination in the workplace is a real and ongoing issue, but what about the women who never have the chance to break into certain careers in the first place? Although workplace discrimination in regard to advertising open positions was once thought to be a thing of the past, new technology is causing a comeback. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, American Civil Liberties Union and other agencies are currently pursuing lawsuits against Facebook and other companies for allowing targeted job advertisements that exclude large segments of the population in Wisconsin. 

Facebook allows companies to target their ads based on very specific criteria, including age and gender. This includes advertisements for job openings. It allegedly allows companies to limit postings for job openings in historically male-dominated fields to only younger male users. Job seekers who were women and older males were never even given the opportunity to learn about these positions

According to the suit, the Civil Rights Act strictly prohibits ads that discriminate based on age or sex. This type of segregated advertising is simply another form of discrimination that keeps individuals from certain groups out of the workplace. As job postings are increasingly found solely online through work-posting sites and social media advertisements, targeting specific groups -- such as males or younger people -- is actively keeping opportunities out of reach for historically marginalized groups. 

Workplace discrimination is not isolated to what goes on between employers and their workers within the four walls of a business. Discriminatory hiring practices that keep potential employees from even getting their feet in the door is also a serious problem that must be addressed. Victims in Wisconsin who were wrongfully passed over for a position may have legal recourse to pursue such claims against businesses. 

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