Big Data

Discrimination & Harassment

The internet, artificial intelligence, and the digital economy are quickly transforming data processing, the workplace and labor market in the United States. Outten & Golden is at the forefront of legal efforts to ensure that the digital-based economy does not perpetuate or worsen discrimination and violations of a range of employment laws. Outten & Golden wants employees to be treated fairly, regardless of what their workplaces look like in the twenty-first century. 

Impact of Big Data in the Workplace

Like so many areas of modern life, the internet, algorithms, big data, and even machine learning are affecting virtually every aspect of the modern workplace and the market for employment opportunities. Large and small employers are increasingly using social media and other internet-and cloud-based platforms to target their recruiting and hiring towards specific types of workers.  Employers are applying big data to assess the qualifications of applicants, to set work schedules, and to evaluate and promote employees.  Many employees work remotely, untethered from a physical workplace.  Employers collect and retain troves of data and private information about their applicants and employees, and can access this information in ways that are illegal and that violate workplace privacy and federal and state anti-discrimination laws.

Big Data Discrimination in Recruiting & Hiring Practices

Regrettably, employers’ use of artificial intelligence, data mining, and other new technologies to recruit, hire, manage, evaluate, and promote workers has not eliminated violations of workers’ rights.  Instead, these technological developments have created new forms of workplace violations and have deepened traditional forms of bias that harm the opportunities of employees.  Applicants often are denied online recruitment due to their age, race, or gender.  Big data tools that evaluate employees’ performance can unfairly limit the opportunities of women and people of color.  Employees’ personal information can be accessed by hackers and made public, putting their health information (see HIPAA) and financial security at risk.     

Outten & Golden’s Discrimination & Retaliation and Class Action Practice Groups are addressing these problems in a variety of ways.  For example, Outten & Golden represents employees who work remotely and have been denied the wages they have earned under federal and state wage-and-hour laws. 

In addition, Outten & Golden is challenging how employers discriminate when they recruit and hire workers through social media platforms and background checks.  The Firm successfully litigated a case against the Census Bureau over background checks in hiring and is litigating two large cases that challenge how employers are misusing social media advertising to exclude older workers and people of color from learning about job opportunities.  Both cases challenge how companies use Facebook’s ad platform to intentionally permit and facilitate employers’ targeted use of protected characteristics (like race, age, gender) to exclude workers from receiving job ads and recruiting notices.

  • In Mobley v. Facebook, Inc., Outten & Golden represents people of color who were excluded from receiving employment, housing, and credit advertisements on Facebook based on race. 
  • In Communications Workers of America v. T-Mobile US, Inc., Outten & Golden represents an international union and older workers who are suing hundreds of large employers and employment agencies—including T-Mobile,, and Cox Communications—who sent job ads to Facebook users that excluded older workers.  By excluding older workers from receiving job-related ads and recruitment notices, these companies harmed the employment opportunities of millions of workers throughout the United States.  More information on this case can be found at

Contact Big Data Discrimination Lawyers

If you feel you have been subjected to discrimination based on the misuse of social media advertising or based on an employer’s improper use of data analytics or data mining in hiring or promotion decisions, please contact the firm through the “Contact Us" form or by calling us at our offices in New York, San Francisco or Washington, DC (see bottom of page for phone numbers) to begin the Outten & Golden intake process.