J. Kent's Blog - Articles for Employers and Job Seekers

Job Postings & Descriptions – Are Yours ADEA Compliant?

Posted by: Emma Berdanier on July 17th, 2018

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967

The ADEA, passed in 1967, prohibits discrimination in employment against individuals age 40 years and older. Today, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) receives over 20,000 age discrimination charges per year, which accounts for more than 20 percent of all discrimination charges.  Although not as much in the spotlight as sexual harassment and racism, age discrimination is more prevalent than people think, and cases are on the rise. Some notable recent cases related to hiring and interviewing practices:

Do your Company’s Job Descriptions & Postings Mask Age Discrimination?

While HR departments and hiring managers may not intentionally try to limit or exclude older workers from applying, sometimes that can be an unfortunate outcome if certain common phrases are used.

“Words/Phrases to Watch”… could be Perceived as:

When turning people down for interviews or jobs, refrain from using “overqualified” which can mask age bias since experience often correlates with age. And, it’s also best to stay away from “not a good cultural fit” which can be problematic if your culture is overtly youth-oriented.

Do a self-check of your company’s recruitment practices, and of how you are writing your job descriptions and job postings. What changes do you need to make to ensure your company doesn’t run afoul of the law, even if it’s not intentional?

Age is the one protected class where almost everyone – eventually is included.

The Information Provided Does Not Constitute Legal Advice
J. Kent Staffing is a Denver temporary staffing agency and has a world-wide audience.  Employment laws and regulations vary from state to state and country to country. Therefore, employers, temporary staffing agencies, and direct hire recruiting firms should consult their own labor or employment law attorneys with additional questions or for guidance and more information specific to their country, state and workplace.

Sources Used:  1) HR Magazine, February 2018, “More Than a Number, by Kate Rockwood, 2) ASA Staffing Today, 6/12/2018, “In a Culture of Inclusiveness, Don’t Overlook Age”, by Jennifer Cerven, Barnes & Thornburg LLP