You may have seen job postings saying that companies are looking to hire recent college graduates or digital natives for a fast-paced, energetic workplace. Language like this is very common in the modern corporate world, especially in the tech sector.
But this could be problematic. The reason is that college graduates tend to be in their early 20s. The implication in this type of job posting is that the company is looking to hire a young person, rather than an older and more experienced worker. But since employers are not allowed to discriminate against workers who are 40 years of age and older, asking to hire recent college graduates could just be a form of age discrimination.
Current college students
Another iteration of this issue is when job postings are created for “current college students.” Employers will sometimes do this when they have part-time work or they need someone who has a flexible schedule. They assume that college students have this, but they exclude adult workers who have already graduated.
Do college students have to be in their 20s?
The counter to this entire complaint is that college students don’t have to be in their 20s. Someone who is 50 could also be going to college. The ad is not specifically discriminating on the basis of age.
But when you look at the statistics, you will find that the vast majority of college students are younger. That’s why this type of wording is seen it so problematic because it implies that older workers should not apply for the job.
As noted, this type of discrimination is illegal. Those who have experienced it need to be sure they understand their legal options.