A Federal Agency's Bogus Battle to Keep College Grads out of Work
One of the most efficient ways for American employers to fill entry-level positions is through college-campus recruiting and similar programs, which bring the employers directly to younger workers.
Such programs are extraordinarily convenient for the students, too, as they allow them to interview with multiple employers in a short time-frame at a location that’s convenient for them. It’s very possible that many readers of this article got their first job through just such a program.
But in recent years, federal bureaucrats at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have declared that such programs should be reclassified as a presumptively illegal form of age discrimination, even when an employer does not intend to discriminate because of age. According to the EEOC, college recruiting may be age discrimination because most students and recent graduates are under the age of 40, and recruiting them therefore has a “disparate impact” on older workers.
Fortunately for students and parents who pay tuition bills, the EEOC’s extreme theory has no basis in the law. In a recent case called Villarreal v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit became the fourth federal appellate court to reject the EEOC’s position. The EEOC’s claim was so flimsy that it did not even garner a majority of Clinton and Obama appointees.
The court explained that the federal law that prohibits age discrimination — the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) — prohibits only those hiring practices that intentionally discriminate against older workers. No federal appeals court has ever reached a contrary conclusion.
This piece originally appeared in The Hill