Legal ‘Pacs’ Lobby for Age Discrimination in Hiring

inequality scaleIt would be a public relations nightmare for a single American corporation to wage the battle against older workers that is going on in federal court right now.

That’s why major American corporations are hiding behind the equivalent of  “legal” super PACs (political action committees) to make their case. These PACs are akin to “political” super PACs that allow big donors to influence the course of national U.S. elections.

These legal super PACs, with their deep corporate pockets, include:

  • The Equal Employment Advisory Council (EEAC), which calls itself “a nationwide association of employers organized in 1976 to promote sound approaches to the elimination of employment discrimination.” When you read the name, you may think the organization promotes equal employment but, alas, it lobbies for a membership base that includes “over 250 major U.S. corporations” whose primary interest is economic,  not equal rights.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce describes itself the “world’s largest business organization.” It represents the interests of more than 3 million businesses, including leading industry associations and large corporations. The chamber claims it protects business interests in Washington, D.C. but it also lobbies federal courts around the country.

The EEAC and the Chamber both have filed briefs to protect employers “rights” to engage in blatant age discrimination in hiring in the case of Villarreal v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Pinstripe, Inc., etc. Continue reading “Legal ‘Pacs’ Lobby for Age Discrimination in Hiring”

Systemic Age Discrimination in Hiring Ignored, Overlooked

Several states are acting to ban employers from discriminating against job applicants on the basis of prior criminal records and lack of credit worthiness.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was also a national movement to bar employers from discriminating  against job applicants whose only “crime” is that they are aged 40 and above?

Technically, it’s already illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of age but the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 is widely ignored when it comes to hiring. Legions of older workers talk about sending out dozens – even hundreds – of resumes and receiving no response. Why? Employers and staffing agencies use internet resume review screening tools to weed out older workers.

The evidence of systemic age discrimination in hiring was overwhelming in a lawsuit filed by job applicant Richard Villarreal. In 2007, at the age of computer49, Villarreal began submitting online applications to work as a territory  manager for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco.  A total of six applications filed by Villarreal were rejected in favor of younger, less experienced applicants.  Villarreal learned in 2010 that Reynolds, in combination with outside staffing agencies,  was using “resume review guidelines” to week out applications from older applicants. 

The guidelines told recruiters to target candidates who are “2–3 YEARS OUT OF COLLEGE” and to “STAY AWAY FROM” candidates with “8–10 YEARS” of prior sales experience.

Reynolds hired  1,024 people as Territory Managers from September 2007 to July 2010 but only 19 or 1.85 percent were over the age of 40 as a result of the resume screening process. Continue reading “Systemic Age Discrimination in Hiring Ignored, Overlooked”

Role of Job Site and Staffing Services in Age Discrimination

noworkplacediscriminationDocuments filed in connection with a federal lawsuit shed light on the appalling role of America’s leading on-line job sites and recruiting  agencies in the on-going epidemic of age discrimination in hiring.

The lawsuit,  Villarreal v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Pinstripe, Inc. and CareerBuilder, LLC,  names as co-defendants with Reynolds,  CareerBuilder, which describes itself as America’s leading on-line job site, and  Pinstripe, an international staffing firm that is now known as Cielo.

Richard Villarreal applied for a job as Territory Manager with R.J. Reynolds in late 2007 at the age of 49.

According to court papers filed by the EEOC, Villarreal learned about the vacancy on a CareerBuilder website, which directed him to a Reynolds website, where he applied for the position. He was never contacted by Reynolds.

Reynolds hired Kelly Services, an international recruiting service based in Troy, Michigan, from 2007 to 2008 to screen applicants for the Territory Manager positions.  Kelly applied the following Resume Review Guidelines provided by Reynolds:

“ … desired characteristics of the “targeted candidate,” including “2-3 years out of college,” and characteristics of candidates to “stay away from,” including applicants who were “in sales for 8-10 years.”

Kelly Services rejected Villarreal’s November 2007 application because he had more than eight years of sales experience and was out of college longer than three years.

Villarreal applied a total of six times for the position of Territory Manager from 2007 to 2012.  Each time, the EEOC states, Villarreal’s application was rejected in favor of “younger, less experienced workers.”

In 2009, Reynolds replaced Kelly Services with another staffing firm, Pinstripe,  which continued to apply the “resume review guidelines” In addition, Pinstripe developed a profile for preferred Territory Management candidates called, “Blue Chip TM.”  Pinstripe surveyed recent hires (who skewed younger because of the resume review guidelines) and concluded that 67 percent of Blue Chip TMs had no prior experience or 1-2 years of work experience, while only nine percent had six or more years of prior experience.

From 2007 to 2010, Reynolds hired 1,024 Territory Managers. Only 19 or 1.85% were over the age of 40.

Of the applications screened by Kelly, about 48 percent (9,100 of 19,086) were from individuals with eight or more years of sales experience. Of the applications screened by Pinstripe from February 1, 2010 through July 10, 2010, more than 49 percent (12,727 out of 25,729) were from individuals with ten or more years of experience. Continue reading “Role of Job Site and Staffing Services in Age Discrimination”