What must an employer know about avoiding discriminatory language in advertising?

Author: Linda Segall, Segall Enterprises

Employers should avoid using language that discriminates against applicants based on the protected categories such as sex, age, race and disability. Phrases such as men wanted or Gal Friday or young workers desired should be avoided. Discriminatory language may only be used if the job has a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) that restricts job applicants to a smaller group of people. Employers should be aware, however, that the EEOC takes a narrow view of BFOQs, so before an employer advertises using potentially discriminatory language, it should check EEOC guidelines concerning BFOQs.