[Baypiggies] Chompapps Etc

Jeremy Fishman jeremy.r.fishman at gmail.com
Tue Oct 27 07:18:37 CET 2009

I was going to post yet another agreement-with-slight-variation but decided
instead to play devils advocate here.

Say a company (startup) is looking for employees and is in a position where
long-term employment, compensation, and name-value cannot be guaranteed
(startup).  Such a position may skew heavily toward the younger demographic
(I'm talking statistics here, not anyone's personal preference) due to
mobility, risk taking, family, etc..  In this case, how can the company
'advertise' themselves attractively to young potentials without
'advertising' an age discrimination?

(I aim this at the examples Rod provided of thinly veiled age-based
marketing, with the assumption that the company is *not* in fact intending
to discriminate in actual hires)

  - Jeremy

Jeremy R Fishman
jeremy.r.fishman at gmail.com

On Mon, Oct 26, 2009 at 10:53 PM, Roderick Llewellyn <
roderick at sanfransystems.com> wrote:

> When I posted my innocent seeming question:
> In your job posting, I see the following phrase:
>  We are engineers, young, smart & aggressive
> Is this intended as a statement of the desired type of employee candidate?
> I was (hoping, wondering if? ) they would fall for it and actually say that
> they planned to discriminate on the basis of age, a protected class (at
> least some of the time as pointed out by Jeremy Fishman, thank you very
> much). I knew perfectly well that asking such a question would doom any
> chance I had of being employed there, but hell, I had zero chance anyway. I
> suppose the smart thing to do is to apply, and when I get rejected, get one
> of you young "rockstars" out there to apply, and then sue their butts. That
> might be my best strategy for making money now in the computer industry! I
> am considering asking my attorney about this posting.... legally, is an
> admission of intent to discriminate actionable, even before any actual
> discrimination has occurred? (my guess is no lol).. and of course the
> company will disassociate itself from Mr. Bott's statement you can bet.
> Tomorrow morning Chompapps will be calling THEIR attorney for sure!
> I kept my "innocent question" short also because I didn't want to harp on
> an issue I had brought up before.
> Now to do some harping:
> As far as Alex's post is concerned, my understanding is that when forming
> any kind of business or partnership (let alone personal or religious bonds)
> you are unconstrained by law. You can also discriminate in contracting as
> that is B2B and is unregulated. I believe the only regulated relationships
> are what is considered "employment". I also suspect that if every "employee"
> had to be a "partner" and this was used as a method of discriminating
> against a protected class, a jury would see right through it.
> We all know that these startup technology companies routinely DO
> discriminate on the basis of age and possibly along other axes as well. The
> problem is establishing proof in court. Most discrimination cases of any
> type are won only by showing statistically that, let's say, a much smaller
> percentage of women are hired for a given job class than would be expected.
> This means that only large employers (such as McDonald's), for which such
> statistics can be gathered, are likely to suffer any liability. For a small
> startup, hiring a few people here and there, they can always defend
> themselves by pointing to the individual differences between candidates
> other than the protected class difference (e.g., "we don't mind hiring older
> people, or women, or blacks, we just haven't seen any good ones").
> As far as "rockstars" are concerned, I might make the following
> associations with them:
> 1. They use drugs extensively.
> 2. They have enormous egos, and think they know how to run the entire
> planet because they play guitar.
> 3. They drive cars way too fast, they're "aggressive"
> 4. They die young.
> 5. They have sex with anything that moves, and then move on.
> 6. They may make beautiful music, but totally lack any people skills... and
> they may even be proud of that.
> Sound familiar? Is this a desireable employee profile?
> More seriously, I think sometimes this connects to the above conversation
> about discrimination. Often companies know not to do what Mr. Bott did and
> directly state that they intend to discriminate. Instead they have more
> subtle messages, such as the following things I've seen in employment
> postings:
> 1. You must have a fast trigger finger in Half-Life.
> 2. We play loud alternative rock music all the time.
> 3. We really like snowboarding and encourage everybody to join in.
> 4. We are "rockstars"... (and unless we're talking Mick Jagger, they're all
> under 30 right?)
> 5. We are "young at heart" (remember that one from a month or so ago)
> These messages are designed to tell people over 40 or so that they are not
> wanted. Remember we're talking software companies here, not snowboard
> makers, who might more reasonably want only snowboarding enthusiasts. The
> messages here have nothing to do with snowboarding, guitar playing, or even
> Half-Life playing (unless it's a games company)... they have everything to
> do with age.
> I've seen other cases. Once many years ago I interviewed (with a
> headhunter) for a company that made software for police and fire
> departments. The recruiter carefully informed me that the actual cops with
> whom I would work were the ones who were pulled off the street because they
> were too violent, and were thus sentenced to desk jobs. And that these were
> the ones who hated homosexuals the most. He never told me not to apply if I
> were gay (it happens that I am)... he was telling me a little story about
> the customers. But the message was loud and clear.
> Anyway, enough ranting for now, sorry for the long post.... Anyone got a
> Python job out there for people who are not necessarily young and aggressive
> (but who are smart)?
> Thanks all of you,
> Rod Llewellyn
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