Is It Against the Law to Specify an Age in a Job Advert

Employers are prohibited from discriminating against job applicants based on age. This means that employers cannot specify an age range in job adverts or job descriptions. Additionally, employers cannot ask job applicants about their age during the interview process. If an employer does discriminate against a job applicant based on age, the applicant may file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC will investigate the complaint and may take action against the employer if it finds that the employer has violated the law.

Overview of Laws Prohibiting Age Discrimination in Employment

Various federal and state laws across the United States prohibit discrimination against individuals based on age in the context of employment.

Key Provisions:

  • Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA): Prohibits discrimination against individuals aged 40 and older
  • Various state laws: Extend protections to younger individuals or provide additional protections beyond the ADEA

These laws prohibit employers from discriminating against applicants or employees based on their age in terms of:

Protected Activities


  • Bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ): Employers may set age requirements if age is a necessary qualification for the job
  • Seniority systems
  • Affirmative action programs

Consequences of Age Discrimination:

  • Legal fines
  • Back pay for lost wages and benefits
  • Emotional damages
  • Punitive damages in certain cases

Employer Exemptions

There are a few exceptions to the rule against age discrimination in job advertising. Employers can specify an age requirement if:

  • The job is in a field where age is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ). For example, a job that requires a minimum age of 21 to serve alcohol.
  • The job is in a senior-level executive or professional position and the employer has a reasonable belief that the applicant’s age is a “bona fide occupational qualification” (BFOQ) for the position.
  • The job is in a government agency and the age requirement is based on a law, regulation, or government contract.
  • The employer is a religious organization and the age requirement is based on religious beliefs.


Even if an employer is exempt from the rule against age discrimination, it is still important to consider the following:

  • Age discrimination can be harmful to both the employer and the applicant.
  • Age discrimination can create a hostile work environment.
  • Age discrimination can lead to legal liability.

Age Bias in Job Advertisements

Discrimination based on age is prohibited by law in many countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union. This means that employers cannot make hiring decisions based on a person’s age, and they cannot include age restrictions in job advertisements.

Despite these laws, age bias in job advertisements remains a problem. Studies have shown that older workers are often excluded from job opportunities simply because of their age. This is a serious issue, as it can have a significant impact on the lives of older workers and their families.

How to Avoid Age Bias in Job Advertisements

There are a number of steps that employers can take to avoid age bias in their job advertisements:

  • Use inclusive language that does not exclude older workers.
  • Avoid using age-related terms, such as “recent graduate” or “experienced professional.”
  • Focus on the skills and qualifications that are required for the job, rather than the age of the applicant.
  • Consider using a blind hiring process, in which applicants’ ages are not revealed until after the initial screening.

By following these steps, employers can create job advertisements that are inclusive of all workers, regardless of their age.

What to Do If You Experience Age Discrimination

If you believe that you have been discriminated against because of your age, you can take the following steps:

  • File a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your local fair employment agency.
  • Contact an attorney who specializes in employment discrimination.

Taking these steps can help you to protect your rights and hold employers accountable for their discriminatory practices.

Age Discrimination Laws in Different Countries
United StatesAge Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
United KingdomEquality Act 2010
European UnionDirective 2000/78/EC

Well, there you have it, folks! The ins and outs of age discrimination in job adverts. It’s a tricky subject, but understanding the law can help you avoid any potential pitfalls. Thanks for reading, and be sure to check back for more informative articles like this one. Until next time!