Thursday, October 05, 2006

UK Age Discrimation Laws - The death knell of target job boards?

As of 1 Oct 2006 the UK's age discrimination law (Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006) came into effect. I am now reading through a "guide" on these laws and, I am, to say the least astounded. The UK government has taken a massive sledge hammer to crack a small nut and then missed.

What strikes me as most interesting is the possibility that target job boards could possible be ruled illegal under the new laws. From the guide is the following quote:

"If you limit your recruitment to university ‘milk rounds’ only, you may
find that this is indirect age discrimination as this practice would
severely restrict the chances of someone over say, 25 applying for
your vacancies."


"Example: An advertisement placed only in a magazine aimed at
young people may indirectly discriminate against older people
because they are less likely to subscribe to the magazine and
therefore less likely to find out about the vacancy and apply."

Now the obvious first shot will be on services such as Milkround. However, I can see the same logic being extended to any target job board. For example the TechCrunch, Joel on Software and 37Signals job boards are seen by an audience that is by and large of a particular age group. This could be be seen as indirect discrimination.

Perhaps the biggest question is the liability of non-UK companies for job advertisements placed on the Internet? The obvious answer is don't be silly, but if a non-UK advertises a job that can be done by telecommuting, lawyers could argue that the advertisements do fall under the UK laws.

The law of unintended consequences raises its head again.

Also puts a damper on the outcome of News International's purchase of Milkround.

Tags: Web Services