Discrimination in Job Adverts

“Young lady, aged between 25 – 30 with no kids and a nonsmoker” If you see this advert RUN, RUN and RUN again! This is an actual job advert that I copied from a Facebook page. Every time I see an advert like this, I scream silently. Within our current labour law, there are many rules around writing job adverts. Certain rules are in place to ensure that you do not end up with a  discrimination lawsuit. Discriminating against race, age, sex and disability is a huge NO-NO.

Here are a few tips to avoid discrimination in adverts:

Avoid Sexual Discrimination

There are certain roles where it is an inherent requirement for the person to be a male. As much as you want to balance up your department with some muscle, you are strictly forbidden to ask for males only in your job advert. The job title you use should also never be gender specific eg: ‘waitress’, ‘salesman’ and ‘manageress’ are all terms that fall foul of the law. Rather use words like ‘sales executive’ or ‘store manager’. To hit the right target market you must do your research before just sticking words on paper and hoping and praying for the right responses.

Avoiding Racial Discrimination

Racial discrimination is taken more seriously than gender discrimination but many of the same principles apply. However, there are some situations where being of a certain race can be seen as a genuine occupational qualification.

It’s sometimes the case that an organisation needs to take positive action to encourage people from a certain ethnic group to apply for a job or training because they are underrepresented in the organisation, at certain job levels. Even where language is an important part of the role, you must state that someone must be able to converse in the language rather than being from a particular race.

Avoiding Age Discrimination

Age discrimination is not a new addition to the list of factors to consider when writing job adverts but certainly one of the most disregarded.

There are no rules to cover stipulating upper or lower age limits for job applicants. Implied terms such as ‘youthful’, ‘dynamic’ or ‘mature’ could be seen as excluding someone from applying for a role based on his or her age.

Avoiding Disability Discrimination

It’s important for all businesses to ensure disabled candidates have as many opportunities to join their company as anybody else. This covers job adverts as well as the rest of the recruitment process eg: making your offices wheelchair accessible for job interviews. Corporate companies within South Africa have become extremely involved in the development of disabled candidates and as such a lot less discrimination has been taking place of late.

Before you post your job advert, make sure you go through it with a fine-toothed comb to ensure there is nothing that could land you in hot water. Get others to check it and if anything is seen as even the slightest bit discriminating, then look to rephrase it.



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