Q. I recently posted want ads to hire new employees. Recently, I received a letter from someone who wants to sue me for “deterring applicants.” The ads that I sent out simply stated my company’s name and address, the position available and that applicants who are younger and live nearby are preferred. What did I do wrong?
A. Your recruitment ad would be considered discriminatory or deterring because it clearly states that certain applicants will receive preferential treatment over others, namely younger applicants and those living nearby.
Such hiring conduct could create a “chilling effect” on those applicants who do not fit into the preferred category, pressuring them not to apply.
In California, employers can be held liable for recruitment practices that “deter” or “chill” prospective applicants from entering the applicant pool. California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) includes in its definition of “applicant” any person who can establish that he or she has been deterred from applying for the job based on your discriminatory hiring practices. Because such individuals were deterred from applying, they can establish liability for discrimination without having submitted an application to your business.