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Hamilton employment and human rights lawyer Sarah Molyneaux spoke with Canadian HR Reporter this week about Facebook job ads targeting recruits based on factors like age or gender. As Sarah explained, she’s concerned about how social media may facilitate hiring discrimination, which is prohibited by the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Sarah had words of caution for employers using targeted Facebook job ads:

“Facebook could improve the platform to make this harder to do, but the duty not to discriminate in employment is a duty that the employer has, so they need to be careful about what boxes they’re ticking,” said Molyneaux.

“If you’re solely posting on Facebook, and you’re doing so in a way that is highly targeted on protected grounds, you’re going to run into trouble, unless an exception to the general rules of non-discrimination applies to you, unless there’s a really good reason for your discrimination on the basis of those factors.”

Knowledge is power though, and employees can take steps to find out why they’re receiving certain targeted Facebook job ads. As Sarah explained:

“Employers who think that this is a black box they can put whatever they want into are wrong — employees can very easily find out why they’re being targeted,” she said.

“If you have anything to be embarrassed about, it’s time to rethink your strategy, because as the public becomes more aware of the practice and of the tools they can use to find out why they’re being targeted, employers are going to be facing some difficult questions.”

The article includes basic instructions to check why a Facebook job ad is targeting you, which can be useful information about Facebook job ads and other ads on the platform. Check out the Canadian HR Reporter website to read Facebook Ads Face Legal Scrutiny in its entirety.

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