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Is this indirectly ageist? (in a job advert)

(70 Posts)
FuckingWonderwoman Sun 25-Nov-12 12:37:16

"This job is fully loaded and would suit someone with high energy levels."

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Mon 26-Nov-12 23:45:48

Good on you - definitely indirect age discrimination I'd say.

garlicbaubles Mon 26-Nov-12 23:36:48

Oh, well done!

FuckingWonderwoman Mon 26-Nov-12 20:21:33

Well I reported my concerns to HR. They agreed - not only indirect discrimination against the elderly such as myself, grin but also the disabled. They also frothed a bit more about "fully loaded" as this implied that it might not comply with the working time directive. The job ad has been pulled now, and the person who wrote it is having some "training", so I feel it was worthwhile raising it.

garlicbaguette Mon 26-Nov-12 00:56:18

I think you're absolutely right, OP. It's discriminatory by stealth or, as you put it, indirectly. "High energy levels" doesn't mean anything definite (who advertises for low-energy staff?) so the specification is there to make it clear they want somebody young.

As they're so careful not to alienate younger people with their advertising, it seems you're correct in thinking they value youth above other professional qualities. Although this made me chortle: We are told to avoid words like "responsible", "mature" and "experienced" as these discriminate indirectly against younger people. Love the thought that they prefer irresponsible staff!

Are you going to do anything about it?

djelibeybi Mon 26-Nov-12 00:22:35

"This job is fully loaded..." is meaningless and deliberately so. It is obvious that the advert is aimed at younger applicants.

Anti-discrimination legislation discourages employers from placing adverts that say: " Young, busty, blonde (bottle-blonde acceptable) receptionist required. Willingness to provide sexual services to our wealthier customers expected.

Nowadays such messages are every bit as obvious despite being phrased in coded form such as: "This job is fully loaded..."

Fiendishlie Mon 26-Nov-12 00:09:59

It reminds me of the 'gravitas' thread. The employer wanted someone with gravitas. ie a middle aged man.
Apparently it's hard to have gravitas if you have big tits.

I believe the OP when she says that it is ageist as she knows the circumstances. There's no way an older or disabled person is getting that job, whether or not their energy levels are up to the required standard.

pigletmania Sun 25-Nov-12 23:35:07

It's not ageist, that statement can. E applicable to any age

edam Sun 25-Nov-12 23:11:31

fuckingwonderwoman, so is this your employers, and a role you might be interested in but suspect they want a young person to do it? Good luck with challenging it.

Mike, indirect discrimination is still a. discrimination and b. illegal (can't quite tell from your post whether you are aware of that or not - wording suggests not but you may well be...)

MikeOxard Sun 25-Nov-12 22:31:32

It's a crap advert but not directly discriminatory imo. There was an ad in our local paper for a job for a 'young person'. That's discriminatory!

FuckingWonderwoman Sun 25-Nov-12 22:30:03

Yes, you're absolutely right, GhostShip, you can. My cousin has MS and is a single parent to four children. She's pretty energetic, I have to say. But I don't think it's coincidence that she's been the person selected for redundancy in her past two jobs (where they all have to reapply for their own job).

It's people's perceptions of what kind of person has high energy levels might be, which is where indirect discrimination comes in. So where an employer's choice is between two people, and one is, say, 20 years older, they might - rightly or wrongly - perceive that this person is likely to have lower energy levels than the younger person. It's also more likely that the younger person will be cheaper to employ and be prepared to put in a lot of free overtime, in my experience.

MamaMary Sun 25-Nov-12 22:24:19

I wouldn't go for this job unless I was absolutely desperate.

Sounds like an excuse for unreasonable demands, long hours and unpaid overtime on a regular basis.

Some employers are just taking the mickey in this recession aren't they

GhostShip Sun 25-Nov-12 22:23:44

People are seeing something that isn't there.

You can be disabled and still have high energy levels confused

Fiendishlie Sun 25-Nov-12 22:20:23

carabos, it is illegal to discriminate against people on the grounds of age.
I'm a wheelchair user, and I work full time in an office. I'm not an expert but I think this is discriminatory and against the Equalities Act. They are saying they want to employ someone who isn't disabled in any way.
Not on, imo.

FuckingWonderwoman Sun 25-Nov-12 22:11:07

I think the high energy levels is because it will probably require long hours with a lot of unpaid overtime. While I am prepared to do this as and when needed (I have a background in crisis management and conflict prevention, so am used to this), it is not something I would want to do on a regular basis.

And I don't think particularly high energy levels are required for a desk job of any description except when they want to get all the hours god send out of you.

We are told to avoid words like "responsible", "mature" and "experienced" as these discriminate indirectly against younger people. I was thinking that asking for someone with "high energy levels" could be said to be doing the same thing against older people.

Bondigidum - I'm not even going to grace that with a reply.

apostropheuse Sun 25-Nov-12 22:08:21

What is actually wrong with asking for someone with high energy levels? That's the job requirement so they should be able to ask for that. I really don't see the problem there.

I also think it's wrong to presume that someone working in an office environment doesn't need high energy levels. Many do. You don't only need to have high energy levels if you're working physically.

I often go home from the office mentally exhausted, my energy levels depleted to the point of exhaustion. Usually when I've worked long hours for several days in a row. I'm not alone in that I'm sure.

The fully loaded comment is just nonsense though.

bondigidum Sun 25-Nov-12 22:03:51

You're ageist for presuming that that ad is ageist.

GhostShip Sun 25-Nov-12 21:56:56

So how do companies tell applicants what sort of person they need? If they need someone with high energy levels then I think it's fair enough to say so

FuckingWonderwoman Sun 25-Nov-12 21:42:27

Thanks, Edam. I think I will challenge and have a word with HR.

Can't remember who asked, but age discrimination is illegal now.

edam Sun 25-Nov-12 18:57:20

there are a lot of nice people on this thread who are prepared to take the ad at face value.

Sadly there are a lot of not-nice people in this world who want to discriminate, and some of them are employers. Employers who want to discriminate use coded language - they wouldn't say 'under 30' because that would clearly be discriminatory, so they say 'high energy levels' instead.

There are tons of examples over the past 30 years of employers using coded language in job ads to dissuade women, people from ethnic minorities and so on applying. If you've ever noticed this phenomenon, you'll see the problem with this ad. If you've never come across it before, you could easily miss it.

I work for a fairly ethical organisation and our HR department would never dream of putting out an ad like this becuase the intention IS discriminatory. You don't have to state badly 'no wrinklies need apply' to discriminate. Case law has proven this in the areas of sex and race and I'm sure will catch up with ageism soon enough.

WilsonFrickett Sun 25-Nov-12 18:50:06

But is it illegal to discriminate against baked beans? Will no-one think of the beans!

carabos Sun 25-Nov-12 18:30:08

As far as I understand it, it isn't illegal to discriminate against people on the grounds of age which is why so many companies do it.

scarlettsmummy2 Sun 25-Nov-12 17:51:59

Makes me think of young, trendy office- make something media or design related, or high volume cold calling!

TessCowDirect Sun 25-Nov-12 17:15:06

To be fair, a lot of our senior managers run around like headless chickens so I suppose they would need quite high energy levels. grin

GhostShip Sun 25-Nov-12 17:14:59

You still need energy. One of my jobs is a desk job and it can get intense. Some couldn't do it.

FuckingWonderwoman Sun 25-Nov-12 17:11:12

But I really don't see why high energy levels should be a requirement for an office job.

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