Join Our “Young” Team? Hello, Age Discrimination

by Evil HR Lady on August 17, 2020

Maybe it’s because I’m old (legally in the United States, as I’m over 40), but “young” doesn’t seem like a good word to use to describe your team. And yet, a Resume writing company uses it. (Thanks to a reader for taking a screenshot and sending this to me.)

See it? This line: “Our downtown Toronto office offers an open, collaborative, and relaxed environment where our young, positive, and hard-working team strive toward a common goal of empowering clients in their job search.”

Now, it does not say that they will only hire young people. but it’s definitely sending out a message that if you’re old, don’t bother applying–you won’t be a good cultural fit.

I don’t know much about Canadian employment law, but I assumed age discrimination is illegal there, and I’m right. And, in fact, it’s more restrictive than the United States. The US federal age discrimination law only protects people over 40, but it looks like Canadian (or at least Ontario) protects everyone over 18 (and over 16 in housing). The examples they give of discriminatory statements are:

  • “Are you sure you can handle this job? It takes a lot of energy and enthusiasm, and we are looking for someone with career potential.”
  • “You don’t need this training program. At your age, what would the benefit be?”
  • “We’re looking for a more mature candidate to handle this job”
  • “Students are noisy and unreliable tenants.”

None of these come out and say we won’t hire if you if you’re too old. Neither does the job posting, but definitely, that statement will turn away more mature candidates.

Make sure you write your job descriptions to be inclusive. Let someone come in for the interview and decide for themselves if they don’t want to work with a bunch of youngsters.

And get off my lawn.

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