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Exploring the sneaky language of job ad age discrimination

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2023 | Employment Law |

Everyone wants to work and hold a job in the 21st century, including older Americans. Unfortunately, many (if not most) employers desire fresh faces and young staff members.

You may think age discrimination is out of the question considering that there are laws in place to deter employers. However, savvy companies have almost mastered using language that conceals discrimination in their job ads.

Beware of ageist phrases when seeking a job as an older citizen.

Digital native

Many employers believe that no one over 50 can understand, much less operate, digital technology. They mask their desire for young applicants in job ads by stating they want digital natives to apply. Often, this language discourages older people from responding to a  job posting.

Cultural fit

Another way employers may try to weed out older applicants is by stressing the term cultural fit in their postings. It is likely the company already employs younger workers and wants to attract more of the same. The phrase is ambiguous enough not to attract unwanted attention and confusing enough to discourage older employees.

Energetic applicants / young company

A not-so-subtle form of discriminatory language that appears in many employment ads involves emphasizing that energetic applicants only need apply. In this context, the word “energetic” likely means young. They reemphasize the desire for youthful employees by stating that they are a young company.

Like all U.S. citizens, qualified older people have the right to seek and obtain a job regardless of age. Under Massachusetts (and federal) law, you may be able to seek a remedy for age discrimination at work or when seeking a job. Guidance from an employment law professional can add strength to your case.