Maybe the most astonishing aspect of social media’s rise over the past decade is the prevalence of the advertising networks. For example, more than 6 million businesses now use Facebook ads to reach people, according to statistics. Social network ads are not just to show off a product. They’re also used as a method for posting jobs and finding potential employees.

Social media’s rise as a prominent jobs-listing player, however, has led to regulatory questions, with the consequences often being felt by independent businesses that use the network’s tools. These companies need to be careful in what has become an age of increasing scrutiny.

Discrimination laws in online job postings

What draws many businesses to social media advertising tools is the ability to directly target individuals that meet specific criteria. This can be problematic with job postings, which are subject to federal discrimination rules.

In one high-profile recent case, seven businesses were found to have violated the law by targeting Facebook job postings exclusively to younger men – meaning women and older workers were not able to see these career opportunities. This determination came after a group of workers and advocacy organizations filed complaints regarding the job postings.

The companies are being urged to settle the case. If they don’t, the threat of further legal action awaits.

Could more lawsuits lay ahead?

Regulators, federal agencies and individual workers will only be paying more attention to social media advertising practices in the years ahead. This could open the floodgates for more applicants to file federal complaints as a stepping stone to a lawsuit. Companies that use social media advertising tools could face more questions, more complaints and more charges.

In this current digital business ecosystem, it’s vital that you, as a business owner, have a strong legal team in your corner. Skillful attorneys may be able to not only help your business avoid these landmines in the first place, but can be there to handle any legal action that does threaten to bubble up.