Barcelona Shopkeeper Fined Over ‘Discriminating’ Job Ad Seeking ‘Woman Over 40’

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A shopkeeper in Barcelona put out an advertisement for a job opening at his shop. However, the advertisement went horribly wrong and the authorities fined him approximately 6.6 lakh rupees for discriminating on the basis of gender and age. Here’s what happened.

A curtain-making shop owner named Javier Marcos in Barcelona was looking for a shop assistant for his business as his former assistant, the only female employee at his shop in Fort Pienc, was retiring. He posted a job advertisement to hire someone and mentioned that he needed a ‘woman over 40’ for the job role. Though intended to be an opportunity for women above the age of 40, the advertisement did not go well with the labour inspectorate and Marcos was charged with a fine of 7501 euros or 6.6 lakhs rupees for discrimination based on age and gender.

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Barcelona Discriminating Job Ad

In his defence, Marcos reportedly said that the majority of his clients were women and quipped, “I have no intention of discriminating against anyone. In fact, I wanted to offer an opportunity to a group of people for whom it is difficult to find work. I was hoping they’d be queuing up at the door but instead I’ve ended up with a fine, which is a lot of money for a small business”.

It is no news that women find it very difficult to get a fitting job as they cross a certain age. Even the most experienced women are not given major and upfront roles if they are in their 40s and 50s and are expected to remain in the background and support the organisation internally. This is problematic because the same female employee is considered the face of the organisation when she is young and is treated as a ‘visual’. Such discrimination and materialistic treatment is restricted to female employees only as men continue to take the major and even public positions in an organisation despite their age.

This particular advertisement specified the type of employee required for the job but since it was a female requirement, it was considered discriminating. However, there have been several cases of big companies specifically mentioning that they need male employees for certain roles but nobody ever questioned them.  Even today, some recruiters reject candidates just because they are female, assuming they aren’t fit for the role or will be a hassle to deal with.

The world has seen severely discriminating advertisements in newspapers and magazines including problematic matrimonial and job advertisements for decades but nobody dared to question them. Such advertisements were published in media that was accessible to a large mass but there was never an issue with them. However, a job ad that is supposed to be encouraging for females over 40 who find it difficult to get a decent job ends up in trouble for being discriminating.

This advertisement would have gone unnoticed if it would have asked for a male candidate which is a saddening reality. The world is still under the control of people with patriarchal mindsets who are not ready to take instructions from females. They don’t like working under females and hence try to eliminate their opportunities to work.

Views expressed by the author are their own