In January 2018, Maurice Anscombe, Lura Callahan, and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) filed charges with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleging that Target published social media job ads in 2017 that were aimed at younger workers within specific age ranges, excluding older workers. The complainants are represented by attorneys from AARP Foundation Litigation, Outten & Golden LLP, and Peter Romer-Friedman Law PLLC.
Target has maintained that its use of audience selection tools for job ads did not violate the ADEA or any other law. Nevertheless, the parties reached an amicable resolution, as part of which Target has committed to maintaining and expanding its practices to further promote the recruitment and hiring of older workers. This includes a commitment to:
- Recruit on websites focused on older workers.
- Use images of older workers in job advertisements.
- Participate in job fairs commonly attended by older workers.
Target has also pledged to monitor its use of audience selection tools for social media job advertisements to ensure that they are lawful. The company will avoid seeking disclosure of information about or excluding applicants based on their age, date of graduation, generation, or age-related adjectives (such as “millennial” or “digital native”).
This resolution signifies a significant step in ensuring equal opportunities for all workers, irrespective of age, and sets a precedent for other employers to follow. As emphasized by William Alvarado Rivera, Senior Vice President for Litigation at AARP Foundation, age should not be a factor in employment decisions, and “[e]xperienced workers should have a level playing field in their ability to compete for, obtain, and retain jobs.”