• Prohibition against age discrimination in job ads

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I am a human resource officer in a debt-collecting company. When we look for new employees, our company usually relies on printed or posted advertisements that we distribute to the public or even online or wherever we think there can be interested applicants. It has been our company practice to specify in our job advertisements that we prefer our applicants to be 18-40 years old. But because of the recent news about a new law on anti-age discrimination in employment, we are unsure on what to write on our job advertisements regarding our age preference.

    We are unsure if we can still write any age preference at all, since we fear that we might be violating this law. Because of this, we want to know what the law says with regard to age preference in job advertisements. I hope you can advise us on this matter. Thank you!
    George

    Dear George
    Republic Act (RA) 10911, known as the Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Act, aims to promote equal opportunities in employment for everyone on the basis of an individual’s skills and qualifications rather than their age (Sec. 2). In line with this policy, RA 10911 makes it unlawful to use the age of an individual as the sole basis for employing or not employing him.

    The law states, “It shall be unlawful for an employer to:

    (1) Print or publish, or cause to be printed or published, in any form of media, including the Internet, any notice of advertisement relating to employment suggesting preferences, limitations, specifications and discrimination based on age;

    (2) Require the declaration of age or birth date during the application process;

    (3) Decline any employment application because of the individual’s age;

    (4) Discriminate against an individual in terms of compensation, terms and conditions or privileges of employment on account of such individual’s age;

    (5) Deny any employee’s or worker’s promotion or opportunity for training because of age;

    (6) Forcibly lay off an employee or worker because of old age; or

    (7) Impose early retirement on the basis of such employee’s or worker’s age.

    (d) It shall be unlawful for a publisher to print or publish any notice of advertisement relating to employment suggesting preferences, limitations, specifications and discrimination based on age.” (Sec. 5.a, RA 10911)

    As seen from this cited provisions, almost all forms of employment discrimination because of age is prohibited by law. And among those included in the discriminatory acts prohibited by RA 10911 is the inclusion of age preference in any printed or published job advertisements. This is in direct relation to your query, since it appears that your company’s previous practice of posting age preferences in your job advertisements is precisely what RA 10911 prohibits.

    Because of this, it is important that your company omit any indication of age preference in your employment advertisements. This is to ensure that employment opportunities are free from age-discrimination and open to all individuals on the basis of their skills instead of solely relying on their age.

    Violators of this law will be penalized with a fine of not less than fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) but not more than five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00), or imprisonment of not less than three (3) months but not more than two (2) years, or both, at the discretion of the court. If the offense is committed by a corporation, trust, firm, partnership or association or other entity, the penalty shall be imposed upon the guilty officer or officers of such corporation, trust, firm, partnership or association or entity. (Sec. 7, Id.)

    Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

    We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

    Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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