Is campus recruiting ageist? One group of employees says yes
- PwC faces a lawsuit alleging that it discriminated against older workers, the The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports. The plaintiffs, men in their late 40s and early 50s who unsuccessfully applied several times for PwC positions, say that when the company recruits on college campuses and school-affiliated job sites, it discriminates against older applicants.
- The suit accuses PwC of disproportionately hiring younger workers for its tax and assurance units, directing more experienced applicants into part-time and seasonal positions, and cultivating an age-conscious workplace that values youth, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
- In court, PwC said that its hiring practices are based on merit and that recruiting on college campuses is an efficient and effective way many companies find candidates, WSJ reports. A judge must decide whether to add 14,000 older workers who were denied employment to the case.
Employers routinely recruit young candidates on college campuses, so companies in all industries will want to keep an eye on this developing case, which has the potential to change recruiting norms.
Ageism is often considered one of the more "acceptable" forms of discrimination and somewhat biased beliefs are common, including the belief that older workers can't perform as well, lack high-tech skills, keep healthcare costs up and can command higher pay because of their experience. But the ADEA has been in effect for 50 years and it hasn't changed much; still, employers routinely run afoul of the law, experts told HR Dive.
Already, employers must be careful to avoid explicitly asking for "young" or even more subtle terms like "digital native" applicants in their job ads. Company websites should display a diverse group of workers, including a wide array of ages, and hiring panels should be diverse as well. But to truly ensure the company is doing all it can to welcome older workers, an employer has at least one simple tool at their disposal: just ask those who work for you.
Follow Kathryn Moody on Twitter