Combating employment discrimination on the basis of age is a priority for the EEOC, given the aging of the workforce and a growing number of age charges being filed. We have harangued our readers for a long time not to call an employee “old” or “ancient,” which is clear direct evidence of age discrimination, and not to use code words, such as calling an employee:  “old school,” or “set in his ways,” or “not a proper fit for the "new environment,” or “lacking in energy,” or “not being up to date,” or “sounds old on the telephone,” or “is like a bag of bones.”


Some employers think that they are gaming the system by using these code words, and discouraging older applicants from pursuing positions. It usually backfires.

The EEOC just announced that it has sued Bay State Milling of Florida which told a 52 year old experienced applicant that they were looking for a "younger" person for the position whom they could "groom." Indeed, they found him – a 23 year old with little to no experience.


The EEOC said that "Age-based stereotypes, evidenced by euphemisms like ‘overqualified,’ rob qualified applicants of job opportunities."  


“Euphemisms” or code words – whatever you call them they are not a good idea.