T-Mobile, others violated age-discrimination rules with recruiting ads, CWA alleges

T-Mobile is among a handful of major tech companies named in an age-discrimination lawsuit accusing the businesses of limiting recruitment ads to specific age groups on Facebook.

The suit, which was brought by the Communications Workers of America in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, claims T-Mobile and others “routinely exclude older works job opportunities” through Facebook ads. Amazon, Cox Communications and Cox Media Group are also named in the filing, which further cites—but doesn’t appear to legally pursue—“a defendant class of hundreds of major American employers” and employment agencies.

“These companies eliminate older workers from receiving job ads by specifically targeting their employment ads to younger workers via Facebook’s ad platform,” the suit alleges, displaying two images reportedly from Facebook.

“For example, T-Mobile recently sent the following ad via Facebook to recruit prospective job applicants for its stores nationwide, and in doing so, upon information and belief, limited the population receiving the ad to 18- to 38-year-olds. The screenshot to the right shows that T-Mobile sent the job ad because T-Mobile ‘wants to reach people ages 18 to 38 who live or were recently in the United States.’”

The plaintiffs are seeking money including punitive damages, among other things.

The story was first reported jointly by The New York Times and ProPublica. A T-Mobile representative told FierceWireless it wouldn’t comment on the record, citing the pending litigation.

The lawsuit follows an investigation by The New York Times and ProPublica that found Verizon, Goldman Sachs, Target and Facebook itself were among a list of major employers that targeted recruitment ads, the media outlets said. The practice could violate the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, according to the report, which forbids hiring or employment bias against people 40 years old or older.

While T-Mobile is only one of the companies named in the lawsuit, the nation‘s third-largest carrier has something of a history with the CWA. In 2015 a National Labor Relations Board judge ruled that T-Mobile’s violated U.S. labor laws by making it difficult for workers to organize and talk about their salaries, granting the union a significant win. Earlier this year an NLRB judge ruled that T-Mobile “engaged in certain unfair labor practices” and needed to “cease and desist” its corporate support of a worker group it created in 2015.