An essential first step in any new employer–employee relationship is the job post itself. Job posts are the gateway to finding employees that best embody the company’s objectives. First impressions are a significant part of how relationships begin, whether they be romantic, platonic, or professional. Potential employees evaluate a company’s job posts to determine if they want to “swipe right” and apply or “swipe left” and move on. However, in addition to establishing a good first impression, it is also important that job posts are legally compliant.
Love at First Sight
When drafting job posts, there are certain guidelines employers should adhere to. For example, regulations under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibit employers from including anything that “a reasonable person would interpret as deterring or limiting employment of people age 40 and over” So employers should be careful of the language used in their job posts. This may include avoiding maximum experience limitations or using phrases such as “fresh ideas,” “new perspectives,” or “the leader of tomorrow.” It’s possible that these phrases could imply that the employer is seeking someone young and may deter protected older workers (anyone 40 or older) from applying. Age favoritism towards workers under 40 is a violation of the FEHA and the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
Employers should also be careful not to target certain demographics in their job posts, as such language may be used as a basis for discrimination claims alleging that the company is excluding a particular category of applicants. Protected categories include age, race, ethnicity, disability, marital status, genetics, sexual orientation, veteran status, religion, ancestry, age (over 40), citizenship, family status and other categories protected by law. Example of potentially problematic job posts may include job posts which request applicants submit a photo of themselves, or job posts that encourage candidates within a certain age range apply. Another example of potentially discriminatory language would be describing the ideal candidate by using gender-specific pronouns (i.e. only referring to them as “he” or “she”), or using descriptions that a reasonable person would interpret to apply to a specific gender.
Wear Your Pay Scale on Your Sleeve
Finally, under new Pay Transparency laws effective January 2023, employers with at least 15 workers must include the salary range in all job posts. See our latest blog for more information on California Pay Transparency laws.
Our team at Duggan McHugh is happy to provide advice and counsel pertaining to job posts, interview questions or other counsel pertaining to hiring practices and are experts at defending these types of claims should litigation arise.