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Clean up job ads to eliminate traces of bias

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in Hiring,Human Resources

Writing employment ads seems like a fairly straightforward task. However, a handful of poorly chosen words could expose your company to liability for discrimination.

See if you can recognize the three problems here: “Waiters/busboys. Looking for energetic, recent H.S. grad to work midnight shift at 24-hour restaurant. Apply to Ms. Willis, 100 Columbia Way. EOE.”

Referencing age as a hiring criterion (“recent H.S. grad”) violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. While age can sometimes be a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ), as in the case of airline pilots, no court would agree that age is a BFOQ for such a restaurant job.

Specifying gender. The terms “waiter” and “busboy” are not gender neutral and could be viewed as discriminatory. Instead, use “wait staff” and “buspersons.”

Requiring a diploma. That might be seen as discriminatory because it could be argued that a diploma is not a BFOQ for this job.

Here is a safer version of the ad:

“Restaurant night crew. 24-hour restaurant looking for wait staff and buspersons to work midnight shift. Apply to Ms. Willis, 100 Columbia Way. EOE.”

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