EEOC Clears Age-Based Hiring

August 31, 2006 ( - The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a new proposed rule containing guidance on how hiring managers can legally target older workers in their recruiting.

The EEOC’s proposed rule asserted that as long as targeted age screening does not sift out others unlawfully, the EEOC does not view it as a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

The agency’s release responds to a 2004 US Supreme Court ruling (See  Supremes Begin Hearing Reverse Age Discrimination Case ), which concluded that there is no such thing under the ADEA as “reverse age discrimination.”

While the regulations currently prohibit job advertisements favoring older persons, the proposed rule would, among other changes, clarify that it is permissible to encourage relatively older persons to apply. “Employers may post help wanted notices or advertisements expressing a preference for older individuals with terms such as over age 60, retirees or supplement your pension,” the proposed rule states.

“I would have said it was OK before,” but now the targeted recruitment of older workers has the EEOC’s official imprimatur, said Ann Reesman, general counsel with the Equal Employment Advisory Council, according to a Society for Human Resource Management news report.