Place Ads – the Legal Way
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2 Basic Rules to Follow When Placing Ads
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Keep these rules in mind when placing an ad in your local newspaper or any other media outlet.

Rule 1: Pay attention to the meaning of the words that you use.

Many employers can get in trouble here. Think about all the synonyms of the word or how the word might be interpreted by others. Try to stay away from words that have meanings that could be viewed as discriminatory. Let’s take a look at some examples.

Example 1
Poor: Looking for salesman.
Better: Looking for salesperson.

Example 2:
Poor: Only those under 30 may apply.
Better: Looking for child actors.

Example 3:
Poor: We offer guaranteed $5K bonuses and matching 401(k) plans. (If you make promises like this, make sure to keep them. Otherwise, it might be better to use more general language like below).
Better: We offer great employee benefits and incentives.

Rule 2: Focus on the essential functions of the job.

This means you should steer clear of labeling the job as anything else than what it really is. Only focus on the characteristics of the job that are essential to what you are looking for.

For example, if you’re looking for an editor for a local newspaper, you would not include height or weight restrictions on your ad, unless somehow height and weight restrictions were essential to the function of the job (which would likely be very difficult to show under these circumstances).

As another example, if you’re looking for some landscaping help, you might require that person to carry heavy tools and or deal with certain types of machinery. So, certain physical characteristics could come into play in your decision to hire.

If you’re looking for some part-time construction help, then you could likely list that the person might be required to carry heavy loads, wear a protective helmet, and have transportation to get to different job sites.

In the end, if something is questionable, it is generally better to refrain from using language that could discriminate against someone, or contact your local attorney to determine the legality of the ad.

Next, we’ll wrap up this article with a few things to keep in mind.