If you saw an ad for a job that said only people under 40 years of age should apply because the preferred candidate was young, you would know that was age discrimination. It very clearly tells older workers that they have no chance and will not be considered. Doing this is illegal.
However, most job postings will not be this obvious. Employers know that they’re not allowed to blatantly discriminate in this fashion. But they may do so in other ways, perhaps trying to hide the discrimination with terms that do not directly mention an age.
The recent college graduate
There are numerous ways that this can happen, but one of the most famous examples — that really paints a picture of how it works — is when companies say that they want to hire recent college grads.
Technically, this doesn’t sound like age discrimination. You could graduate from college at 50 years of age if you started a career and then went back to school. Plus, the company will likely say they want a recent graduate because of their updated education, not because of their age.
However, the reality is that most college graduates are around 22 or 23 years of age. Even a 28-year-old may not really consider themselves to be a “recent” graduate if they have been working for five or six years. That job posting does actually discriminate against older, more experienced workers, and so the language of this type can be very problematic.
Have you faced hidden discrimination?
Even if an employer tried to hide age discrimination in some vague terminology, you may have noticed discrimination against you. It’s important to understand the legal options that you have when this happens.