May an employer discriminate in job ads seeking only certain gender or age?

Federal code 42 U.S.C.A. 2000e-3(b) proscribes employers from “printing or publishing or causing to be printed or published any notice or advertisement that indicates a SEEK - Storeman Job in Adelaide-1preferece, limitation, specification, or discrimination” of any particular protected class.  For example, advertisements textually or facially soliciting “boys,” “girls,” “students,” or “recent graduates” are suspect. 29 CFR 1625.4 (a)  Employers challenged this and the Supreme Court stated this limitation does not violate the advertiser’s free speech and press guarantees of the First Amendment.  Pittsburgh Press Co. v. Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations, 413 U.S. 376, 93 S.Ct. 2553, 37 L.Ed.2d 669 (1973).

The high court held that the  Pittsburgh ordinance, as construed to forbid newspapers to carry sex-designated advertising columns for nonexempt job opportunities, did not violate petitioner’s First Amendment rights. Pp. 413 U. S. 381-391.  More specifically, it was held that the Commission’s order, which was clear and no broader than necessary, was not a prior restraint endangering arguably protected speech.

The Court further held that:

(a) The advertisements here, which did not implicate the newspaper’s freedom of expression or its financial viability, were “purely commercial advertising,” which is not protected by the First Amendment. Valentine v. Chrestensen, 316 U. S. 52316 U. S. 54New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U. S. 254, distinguished. Pp. 413 U. S. 384-387.

(b) Petitioner’s argument against maintaining the Chrestensen distinction between commercial and other speech is unpersuasive in the context of a case like this, where the regulation of the want ads was incidental to and coextensive with the regulation of employment discrimination. Pp. 413 U. S. 387-389.

If you believe you were rejected for a position wherein such an advertisement or notice is applicable in the facts surrounding the circumstances of your application, you have a viable cause of action as a member of a protected class under title 7.


About Roland

Roland was born in Nashville, Tennessee and raised in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. The first few years he resided in Paris, France with his mother who was French. In Hendersonville, he attended Beech Senior High School where played soccer and studied in the honors curriculum. Subsequently, he pursued two majors in political science and economics while graduating in three years.

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