Note to employers: You do not embrace “diversity” if you don’t have age diversity

The other day I was browsing a corporate website for reasons unrelated to job-hunting, when I stumbled upon the “Careers” page of an international legal services company with offices in the United States. There is nothing especially unique about it; It could be one of a thousand similar employer websites, but it happened to be the one I was looking at and I thought it was representative of most such sites I have encountered.

You’ve seen them: They all trumpet their commitment to “diversity and inclusion.” They brag about how progressive they are in recruiting and promoting women, LGBT, minority, military veteran, and disabled individuals.

Figure out what is wrong with this corporate “legal professionals” page.

Here is the same company’s page on diversity and inclusion.

It’s amazing to me that an organization, a legal-oriented one no less, could put out an image so tone-deaf and clueless. Whether the pictured individuals are actual employees or paid models, the effect is the same. If you are over 40—or apparently over 30 in this case—you need not apply.

As I said, this isn’t meant to pick on any one employer. I have seen a hundred similar sites, but I can’t remember or link to them all.

This is Amazon’s corporate “diversity” page.

It tells me all about Amazon’s initiatives in racial and ethnic diversity (Black Employee Network, Latinos@Amazon, Asians@Amazon) gender diversity (Women@Amazon), LGBT (Glamazon), military veteran (Warriors@Amazon) and people with disabilities.

The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) outlaws discrimination based on age in hiring and employment, yet this and other laws against age-related discrimination continue to be the most routinely flouted, violated, and unenforced anti-discrimination laws.

And the so-called “progressive” employers are among the worst offenders.

It’s the last remaining socially acceptable form of discrimination in America.

Which is why, unlike other forms of discrimination, it’s difficult to bring a successful claim.

The Illinois attorney general’s office recently called Facebook out on age-discriminatory advertising practices. It’s a start, but it’s still all too rare.

Imagine the uproar if, in the pages linked to above, the people pictured were all Caucasian or all male.

I wonder if these employers understand the alienation a person over age 40 or 50 feels when going to their websites. Maybe the alienation is intended, maybe it isn’t. We are always hearing about businesses desperate to “attract Millennials.” But there are many of us out there who aren’t Millennials who are still in our prime and still have a lot to offer.

Employers, it's your loss too, because you are shutting out a lot of qualified and talented people.

If that's the way you want to roll, fine, but just don't pat yourselves on the back and call yourselves "diverse" and "inclusive." Because you're not.

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