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Illinois AG Sends Age Discrimination Letters to Job Boards, Protects Rights of 81 Year Olds To Apply For Jobs They Don't Want...

In case you missed it, the State of Illinois Attorney General is in the news for some premium PR/saber-rattling, centered around the fact that job boards like CareerBuilder and Indeed are trying to exclude older workers from applying for jobs they don't want.

Yes, the world has problems. This didn't make the list of 99 referenced by Shawn Carter.  Still, there's the Illinois AG, doing her thing.  More from the rundown on SHRM.org, notes that follow each section are my color commentary:

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office alleged in letters sent March 1 that older job seekers are deterred from using resume tools and creating profiles on the nation's Madiganlargest job search sites—CareerBuilder, Indeed and Monster—because of their age, potentially violating the Illinois Human Rights Act and the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

Three other job sites, Beyond.com, Ladders Inc. and Vault, were also sent letters requesting information about the companies' practices.

Ok.  I'm interested.  I'm at the older age range of GenX, so this is me some day in the future.

In one example provided by the attorney general, 1980 was the earliest possible choice for users' education or previous employment start dates, effectively barring anyone older than 50 from using the tool. Other sites used dates ranging from 1950 to 1970 as cutoffs.

How dare they.  Tell me more.

Madigan's office asked in its letter to CareerBuilder why users cannot choose a high school graduation date prior to 1955, saying that the cutoff excludes those who are 81 or older from full use of the site's services.

"CareerBuilder is committed to helping workers of all ages find job opportunities and has fixed this unfortunate oversight," said Michael Erwin, director of global corporate communications and social media for the Chicago-based job search site.

Uh, OK.  CareerBuilder's not automatically configured to let those 81 years or older apply for a job in the buzzsaw of corporate America?  I get that the tools need to be configured in an agnostic way from an age perspective, but 81?  Kind of feels like CareerBuilder had it mostly right.  Now thinking this is some grandstanding the AG is doing so she can stump to the older crowd at Piccadilly when she makes the run for Governor.

"Remember when those evildoers at CB were trying to take away your right to apply for a job you had no interest in doing?  I was there for you.  How's the red jello today?  Is the early bird special still on?  I might grab a plate after I get done telling you how the Internet is evil."

Austin, Texas-based Indeed's resume builder drop-down menu went back to 1956. "This did not prevent anyone from manually noting an earlier date on a resume, but we did extend that menu to 1900 after hearing of the concern in the letter," said senior public relations manager Alex Ortolani.

"Indeed's mission is to help people get jobs, and we strongly believe that age should not be a factor in evaluation of employment," he said.

No shit. This could have been a phone call to the job boards to tell them to have the stoner developer in charge of drop down menus to dial up 1900, just in case that nimble great/great/great/great/great grandma wanted that call center job.  But no, we get a PR release to take a shot at Job Boards, because, you know - the AG really gets the intersection of job boards and age discrimination.

No mention in the SHRM article about which job board only allows those creating candidate profiles to go back to 1970.  Maybe that's someone that needs a AG whack across the knees.

But 81 years old?  How about you just call CareerBuilder to ask that they expand the drop down menu and be a partner to business?

Of course, if the AG really understood discrimination, she'd be asking job boards to eliminate options that needlessly force people to show just how freaking old they are - like drop down graduation date menus.  

Instead?  We want the option to show if your parents voted for Teddy Roosevelt on 1900.  

Rock on, Lisa Madigan.  Your understanding of age discrimination is stellar.   

Comments

Chelsea Kroes

"Of course, if the AG really understood discrimination, she'd be asking job boards to eliminate options that needlessly force people to show just how freaking old they are - like drop down graduation date menus."

This was my first thought when understanding the complaint!

Danna Blum

Exactly! Those dates are rarely, if ever, relevant to one's ability to do the job. So, why are they even sought?

Andy

Not all jobs posted on job boards are "corporate jobs," many are for hourly positions that some seniors would be happy to have, for the money and potential companionship. Also, some people still need to eat, regardless of age, and life can be difficult when high medical bills and meager Social Security payments make putting food on the table a challenge.

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