The war for talent is still raging, with unemployment rates at a half-century low and employers bemoaning a dearth of qualified applicants. But you might not know that if you’re of a certain age.
Although we’ve all heard rumblings of age bias in hiring, the problem may be more widespread than previously thought. See, for example, employers unwittingly setting age criteria for targeted job ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social platforms. As a result, job seekers in their 50s and above likely wouldn’t find those openings in their news feeds.
Age discrimination occurs in many ways. Sometimes (albeit rarely), it’s intentional. More often, it’s subtle and unconscious. Either way, and no matter the intent, ageism is hard to prove.
But when it is possible to prove age discrimination, the implications can be far-reaching. For one, there’s the monetary settlement, which can reach into the millions if systemic discrimination is found. In 2018, monetary resolutions for age discrimination lawsuits through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission totaled $77 million. Regardless of the outcome, there’s the time and expense of litigating the case — and that’s all before any negative publicity, which can take a toll on morale, productivity, retention, recruitment, and revenue.
Does Your Hiring Process Hold Up Under Scrutiny?
Any step in the selection process where applicants can pass or fail is subject to legal scrutiny. As such, employers are required to collect the necessary data to allow plaintiffs and government agencies to determine whether there are disparities in the passing rates of protected groups. Should a disparity exist, the employer is then required to justify the difference by arguing its validity.
The question, then, is whether your selection process holds up to this scrutiny. The following are four areas you should review to avoid age discrimination in the recruitment process:
1. Application Screening
Graduation dates and experience levels have been found to be proxies for age discrimination. Obviously, there will be positions for which a degree or a certain amount of experience is necessary, but the problem comes when you seek dates and set limits. Read more here…