Touch of Grey: Touch of Discrimination

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Every morning in the gym, I see the ads for Touch of Gray, the men’s hair coloring product. Aimed clearly at the baby boomer and at men no longer afraid to embrace products like this or to admit that they color their hair.

The ad that struck me (and that I couldn’t find on youtube to post here) shows two men sitting on a couch, waiting for an interview. The two interviewers are talking between themselves and one of them points to the man with the gray hair and says “I’d like his experience,” while then pointing to the one with the darker hair that has not a tint of gray and says “But I’d like his energy.”

What is the lesson that this ad fosters? Prosepective employers should, or at least do, discriminate on the basis of appearance that someone is older and has more experience, which equates to less energy. Bad idea! While gray hair isn’t necessarily equated to being older (I know a few people who were gray in their late 20s), more likely than not it is. And judging a job candidate based on these characteristics is never recommended. Judge someone based on his or her abilities, work experiences and references, not on hair color. Doing otherwise can lead to age discrimination claims.


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