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How to Spot Signs of Age Discrimination in Job Descriptions

Both federal law and California law prohibit age discrimination. Unfortunately, it nevertheless remains a common problem in today’s job markets.

Be aware that age discrimination can manifest in subtle ways. Many employers may use subtle language and qualifications in job descriptions and listings to screen out older workers. This can negatively impact the growth and earning potential of workers over the age of 40.

Signs of age discrimination in job listings may include:

Use of youth-focused language

The use of language that is focused on youth is often a clear sign of age discrimination. Terms like “young,” “recent graduate,” or “digital native” can be used as a means of excluding older workers. Similarly, job descriptions that emphasize “energy,” “enthusiasm,” or “innovation” could also suggest that older workers need not apply.

Excessive experience requirements

Another sign of age discrimination in job listings is the use of excessive experience requirements. Although you might assume that older workers would have more experience than younger ones, that’s not always the case.

For example, maybe a job listing requires 10-15 years of experience for an entry-level position. This could be an attempt to exclude older workers who may have taken time off or switched careers. Additionally, some job descriptions may indicate an ideal candidate should be familiar with certain tools and technologies that may be foreign to older workers.

Lack of diversity in job listings

A lack of diversity in job listings can also suggest a company engages in age discrimination. If a company tends to hire younger workers or has a predominantly young workforce, it may be an indication that they are not open to hiring older workers.

It’s becoming increasingly common for employers to highlight their company culture in job listings. While this is often an innocent way of making a company more appealing to potential candidates, if the emphasis is on a youth-centric culture, it could also indicate discrimination is occurring.

Use of discriminatory language

Some job descriptions are openly discriminatory. Job listings that state a preference for a certain age range should be reported to the appropriate authorities.

If you believe that a job listing or description contains signs of age discrimination, it is important to take action. You can start by reporting the listing to the appropriate authorities, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your state’s labor department. Additionally, you can contact an employment discrimination attorney for guidance on your legal options.

You may assume you can only hold an employer accountable for age discrimination if you were employed with their company at some point. That’s not necessarily the case. Even if you never got a job at a company, you may have justification to take legal action if the company’s job descriptions make it clear this employer engages in age discrimination.

Review your case with a lawyer for more details. At Rager & Yoon — Employment Lawyers, a Los Angeles age discrimination attorney will gladly answer your questions about this topic. Get started today by contacting us online or calling us at 310-527-6994.


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