In February, I wrote about 6 ways to avoid age bias in your job descriptions.

Apparently not everyone got the memo. Just a cursory look at job boards finds numerous examples of age bias are still out there.

I hate to be a buzzkill but these oversights can get you fired or sued.

Note: Most age discrimination lawsuits relate to The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 which forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older. 

Here are some examples:

1) Age Bias: “Recent Graduate”

This job posting below mentions that the ideal candidate is a “recent graduate”. You have to be careful with that phrase. You’re better off leaving it out to avoid getting sued by a candidate who is NOT a recent graduate but feels they qualify. Tip: Focus on the skills you need instead.


2) Age Bias: “Digital Native”

This next job ad uses a common term, Digital Native, that is widely understood to mean a person who has grown up with technology.

That means some candidates might feel you’re excluding them because they are of a certain age (born pre-Internet or social media, etc.). Tip: Instead, try describing the qualifications you want (e.g. 5 years experience with Facebook).


3) Age Bias: “Young”

Startups, in particular, are the most likely to make these age bias gaffes.

Check out this double-whammy below.

They use 2 sentences in a row to emphasize that they’re looking for a young professional.

This could get them sued. Tip: If you’re a young team, skip mentioning words like “young” or “youth” or “youthful”.  Focus on what skills you need instead.


Why I wrote this?

I’m passionate about job descriptions and the words used in them. I don’t want you getting fired or sued for accidentally using a biased phrase in a job description. If you want help avoiding this, check out Ongig’s Text Analyzer. Text Analyzer will look at all your job descriptions and tell you which ones are potentially biased or not.

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