You say to yourself “Of course not”, but are your employment activities inline with this belief?
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was passed nearly 50 years ago yet the Congressional Statement of Findings and Purpose are still applicable today:
(a) The Congress hereby finds and declares that-
(1) in the face of rising productivity and affluence, older workers find themselves disadvantaged in their efforts to retain employment, and especially to regain employment when displaced from jobs;
(2) the setting of arbitrary age limits regardless of potential for job performance has become a common practice, and certain otherwise desirable practices may work to the disadvantage of older persons;
(3) the incidence of unemployment, especially long-term unemployment with resultant deterioration of skill, morale, and employer acceptability is, relative to the younger ages, high among older workers; their numbers are great and growing; and their employment problems grave;
(4) the existence in industries affecting commerce, of arbitrary discrimination in employment because of age, burdens commerce and the free flow of goods in commerce.
(b) It is therefore the purpose of this chapter to promote employment of older persons based on their ability rather than age; to prohibit arbitrary age discrimination in employment; to help employers and workers find ways of meeting problems arising from the impact of age on employment.
The ADEA applies to workers that are 40 or older – with increased longevity and that older workers want to remain in the workforce – 40 seems to be a very young age.
Recruitment & placement is probably the area most likely to run afoul of the ADEA. Consider these:
- Where are you focusing your recruitment budget? Is it college campuses or on Facebook?
- What language are you using in your job postings? For example, ‘digital native’ is a term most likely to be associated with a younger worker
- What do you ask for experience? Should you be using three to five years or at least three years?
- Do you ask for school graduation dates?
These are just a few of the common errors I see from small businesses – while unintentional they still have the same negative impact on older workers.
What are some examples you have seen that may be considered age discrimination? Are there grey areas that you would like guidance on?