Amazon, T-Mobile Defeat Claims Based On Age-Targeted Ads -- For Now

A federal judge has dismissed a complaint alleging that T-Mobile and Amazon violated civil rights laws by allegedly using Facebook's targeting tools to block employment ads from reaching people over the age of 40.

But U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman in San Jose, California, also ordered T-Mobile and Amazon to provide more information to the plaintiffs, and left open the possibility of reviving the claims based on that information.

The battle dates to late 2017, when the Communications Workers of America and several job seekers over the age of 40 sued T-Mobile and Amazon over age-targeted job ads. The lawsuit came the same day ProPublica reported that Facebook allows advertisers to target job ads based on age.

The Communications Workers and other plaintiffs alleged that Amazon and T-Mobile violated a federal age discrimination law, as well as laws in California and other states.



Freeman said in a 32-page ruling issued Friday that the allegations were too “vague and conclusory” to establish that the specific people who sued personally experienced age discrimination.

“To establish personalized injury, the named plaintiffs must show they were qualified for and interested in the particular jobs subject to defendants’ allegedly discriminatory practices,” Freeman wrote.

She said that while the complaint alleged that T-Mobile and Amazon advertised for “a range” of positions, it didn't provide enough details to show that the individuals who brought suit would have applied for those particular positions had they known of them.

But Freeman added that the plaintiffs didn't have enough information to do so, given that they allegedly were blocked from seeing ads for those positions.

She went on to order T-Mobile and Amazon to provide all age-targeted job ads that were sent to Facebook users in California between December of 2016 and December of 2017, and said the plaintiffs could file an amended complaint after reviewing those ads.

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