Are There Rules for Verbiage Used in Job Advertisements?

When your business is advertising jobs for new positions, you should be thinking about the specific language you plan to use in those job posts and how you want to frame the position you are advertising. When you draft your job advertisement, consider language selection carefully. It is important to avoid using language that could be considered discriminatory. The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) provides information about rules for job advertisements, and we want to ensure that you understand what you can and cannot say in a new job posting.

Recommendations Versus Obligations for Posting

Generally speaking, the TWC notes that there are no federal or Texas laws that obligate private employers in the state to post job vacancies or advertisements in any specific way. The TWC recommends that job postings be advertised in “media that are likely to be seen or heard by minority applications,” and recommends posting with Texas’s public employment service so that your company can cite such postings as evidence to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), if it becomes necessary, of “an open and fair hiring process.”

Affirmative Action Plans 

Some employers in Texas are required to have language in job advertisements that include a written affirmative action plan. Such language is required in a job ad for some federal contractors and grantees. If you believe your business falls into one of these categories, you should seek advice from an attorney about drafting and including a written affirmative action plan. Yet even if you are not required to have such language in your job posting, the TWC underscores that including this type of language “can make it easier to defend against a discrimination claim” in the future.

Avoid Discriminatory Language

Federal and Texas law do not require gender-neutral job titles in postings, but you should avoid using a gender-specific job title unless a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) exists, requiring the job to be taken by a person of a particular gender. Otherwise, gender-specific job titles, such as “seamstress,” may result in a discrimination claim. Such titles can be replaced with gender-neutral job titles that convey the job duties without suggesting the job is being advertised to a person of a specific gender.

Unless your company can prove that any of the following conditions of employment are necessary for the position, use of any of the following types of language can be considered discriminatory and in violation of federal or state law:

  • Advertising a position solely to men or women;
  • Advertising a job for persons only of a particular race or ethnicity;
  • Advertising the job to persons only of a specific religion;
  • Advertising only to people who are currently employed;
  • Advertising only to people without criminal records;
  • Advertising only to people who live in a specific geographic area; or
  • Indicating that pregnant job applicants should not apply.

These are just some examples of language that can result in a discrimination claim. To ensure that your job advertisement complies with federal and state law, seek advice from an employment lawyer in Texas.

Contact Our Texas Employment Lawyers

For help with any employment or business law matter, get in touch with our firm today. Contact Simon Paschal PLLC for more information.

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