Is a College Students Wanted Ad for a Job considered age discrimination?

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Question:

They always have these ads for a telemarketing style job in our local newspaper, but the ads always say “College Students Wanted.” I’m retired (age 72) but I wouldn’t mind getting a little income from doing some flexible telemarketing work, which is all these jobs really seem to be. Is it legal for them to specify that they only want college students when I could do the job too, or is that age discrimination on their parts?

 

Answer:

According to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) under EEOC laws, it is not legal to discriminate on the basis of age in an ad for employment. So, if the wording in the ad is designed to restrict the job to college students and there is no legitimate bona fide reason why only college students are eligible for the position, it is possible that such an ad would be considered to be in violation of the ADEA. However, if the ad does not suggest that the job is only open to college students, and the wording is merely designed to attract the attention of the type of worker they believe is their target audience, then according to EEOC policy, an employee age discrimination claim may not be viable. In other words, to bring an age discrimination claim, you usually need to prove intent to discriminate. Your best course of action would be to speak with a qualified employment law attorney who can evaluate the ad, and determine whether it potentially is discriminatory in violation of the ADEA.

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