Facebook Job-Ad Settlement

Facebook reached a settlement in legal actions over how it targets employment, housing and credit advertising on its platform, the American Civil Liberties Union reported.

The lawsuits alleged Facebook’s paid ad platform enabled advertisers to exclude Facebook users from receiving job, housing or credit ads based on protected classes such as race, gender and age.

Among the changes Facebook agreed to as part of the settlement: Job, housing and credit advertisers will no longer be allowed to target by age, gender or ZIP code, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg wrote in a blog post.

“There is a long history of discrimination in the areas of housing, employment and credit, and this harmful behavior should not happen through Facebook ads,” Sandberg wrote. Facebook had been sued by the ACLU, law firm Outten & Golden LLP, the Communications Workers of America and others. The settlement comes after 18 months of negotiations, according to the ACLU.

Pay Data Reporting Reinstated

In March, the federal district court in the District of Columbia lifted a stay implemented by the White House Office of Management and Budget, or OMB, regarding the pay data collection component of the EEO-1 report.

The EEO-1 is an annual, federally mandated survey. It requires all private employers with 100 or more employees and federal contractors with 50 or more employees to report data on race/ethnicity and gender across 10 job categories in their annual EEO-1 filings. In 2016, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission changed the data reporting requirements under the EEO-1 report, requiring employers with 100 or more employees to annually report employees’ IRS Form W-2 compensation information and hours worked. However, in 2017, following President Trump’s election, the OMB indefinitely stayed the deadline for employers to comply, pending review of the potential burdens of such data collection under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

In lifting the stay, the court reasoned that the OMB failed to prove either that relevant circumstances regarding the data collection had changed, or that the original burden estimates were materially in error. Further, the court held that the stay was arbitrary and capricious.