Jeff’s On Call!: Job Postings and Gender Discrimination

This week’s inquiry comes from Tom Skobel:

Hello Jeff Allen!

I have read and found to be very interesting the article you wrote April 15, 2009, entitled, “Jeff On Call: What Internet Job Postings Are Illegal?” I happen to be a college student studying Human Resources Management and find labor practice laws to be interesting, and I enjoy seeing them in play in real life….After reading what are considered to be illegal job postings, I discovered, what I believe, may be an illegal job posting. I discovered the job posting in question on a reputable job search website. The title reads: “Seeking Full Time FEMALE PERSONAL ASSISTANT for Busy Executive, ready to train and start very soon. ” In addition, one of the traits reads, “Recent college graduate – no more than 5 years out of college.”

From studying Labor Law at college and reading what you have listed in your well-thought out article, I believe this job excludes males from applying for this position — gender discrimination, which is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I would like to get your expert opinion on this matter.

Once again, I enjoyed reading your article. I found your article to be both enlightening and easily understandable. I look forward to read more of your work.



Hi Tom,

I’m delighted that you’ve benefited so much from our JOC information.

Surely you must have seen that “FEMALE PERSONAL ASSISTANT” ad in an online dating service.

The ad you found is more than awful – it looks unlawful. If Fordyce founding father Paul Hawkinson were writing this reply, he’d have two words in one for this clueless “employer” — “Hooboy!”

I’d suggest you let that “Busy Executive” know, because he doesn’t know what “busy” really means until he’s hit with an EEOC Notice of Charge of Discrimination. It’s nasty news indeed.

The gender discrimination is only part of the problem. The other prima facie (on its face) violation is “Recent college graduate – no more than 5 years out of college.”

Fortunately no recruiter appears to be involved. How could one be? But this is a great example of what not to do – or even think!

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Thanks for sharing it with our JOC readers. It keeps them sharp!

Best regards,


If you have a legal question you’d like to have Jeff answer here on The Fordyce Letter, check out Jeff’s On Call! and submit your question.


More than thirty-five years ago, Jeffrey G. Allen, J.D., C.P.C. turned a decade of recruiting and human resources management into the legal specialty of placement law. Since 1975, Jeff has collected more placement fees, litigated more trade secrets cases, and assisted more placement practitioners than anyone else. From individuals to multinational corporations in every phase of staffing, his name is synonymous with competent legal representation. Jeff holds four certifications in placement and is the author of 24 popular books in the career field, including bestsellers How to Turn an Interview into a Job, The Complete Q&A Job Interview Book and the revolutionary Instant Interviews. As the world?s leading placement lawyer, Jeff?s experience includes: Thirty-five years of law practice specializing in representation of staffing businesses and practitioners; Author of ?The Allen Law?--the only placement information trade secrets law in the United States; Expert witness on employment and placement matters; Recruiter and staffing service office manager; Human resources manager for major employers; Certified Personnel Consultant, Certified Placement Counselor, Certified Employment Specialist and Certified Search Specialist designations; Cofounder of the national Certified Search Specialist program; Special Advisor to the American Employment Association; General Counsel to the California Association of Personnel Consultants (honorary lifetime membership conferred); Founder and Director of the National Placement Law Center; Recipient of the Staffing Industry Lifetime Achievement Award; Advisor to national, regional and state trade associations on legal, ethics and legislative matters; Author of The Placement Strategy Handbook, Placement Management, The National Placement Law Center Fee Collection Guide and The Best of Jeff Allen, published by Search Research Institute exclusively for the staffing industry; and Producer of the EMPLAW Audio Series on employment law matters. Email him at


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