How current events impact your business and real estate holdings

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Facebook has a non-discrimination policy - fair housing lawsuits are coming...

In the era of #MeToo, NYS' mandatory sexual harassment trainings (labor law 201-g), NYC's mandatory sexual harassment trainings (local law 96) and CA's expanded training requirement requirement (SB 1343), Facebook has gotten into the game.

This week, Facebook Advertisers are being required to certify that they "[h]ave reviewed and will abide by our Advertising Policies and all applicable laws" and "[w]ill not use Facebook Advertising for any wrongfully discriminatory practices." It is noted that Facebook's list of protected classes does not cover all classes protected by employment / housing discrimination laws and Facebook acknowledges this fact by stating "[s]ince non-discrimination laws vary by region, be sure to comply with our policy and relevant laws in your location and the location you're targeting."

Of note, Facebook is likely causing advertisers to agree in an attempt to insulate the platform from suit for hosting a hostile environment. However, agreeing to the policy certainly doesn't insulate the advertiser from suit.

So, be warned, your advertisements are being watched by Plaintiffs' counsel and you will be sued if you discriminate in any fashion. As such, targeting demographics is off limits and you should sell your product's / position's benefit and target user's prior preferences / searches, not specific users by their demographics (e.g., "race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, family/marital status, disability or medical or genetic condition") and how those demographics are correlated to predicted desires.

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