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EEOC says it’s legal to ‘encourage’ minorities to apply; but don’t say you’re ‘seeking’ them

by on
in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

If you tack the phrase “women and minorities are encouraged to apply” onto the end of a help-wanted ad, could that be construed as race or sex discrimination? In a carefully worded opinion letter, the EEOC has said “no.”

But don’t go so far as saying that you’re “seeking” employees from certain age, sex or racial groups. Says the EEOC: “‘Seeking’ a particular kind of applicant denotes a preference for that group; it is not just ‘encouraging’ people to submit applications. Thus, seeking persons on a protected basis, such as race or gender, would violate EEOC-enforced laws.”

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Barry September 1, 2013 at 6:50 am

Basically this article just defined what they really mean by “women and minorities are encouraged to apply.” It’s a word game, and they really are saying they have a preference for women and minorities. And I also find it offensive that they are comparing women to minorities. If you are a true EEO, you would say something like “Everyone encouraged to apply.”


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