15 Expressions to Avoid on Job Descriptions

  1. Gender-based nouns and pronouns. “The man who fills this job will…” “Journeyman’s duties include…” or “She will be required to…”
  2. Language preferences. “English speakers only.”
  3. Safety and health violations. “Required to navigate obstructed passageways on work sites with falling or flying objects.”
  4. Geographical references. “Local residents only” or “must reside within 20 miles of plant.”
  5. Strength, fitness or physical condition. “Must be able to lift 25 pounds,”  “strong and fit” or “able-bodied.”
  6. Free speech issues. “Pro-life supporters” or “conservative thinkers”
  7. Exaggerations. “Administrative Assistant to manage file integrity, document assembly and sortation issues” instead of “file clerk.”
  8. False promises. “Annual pay increases guaranteed” or “employee stock purchase plan.”
  9. Defeating at-will employment. “Permanent position,” “Full-time permanent staff” or “Five-year project.”
  10. Personal or family privacy. “Should uphold moral values, should condemn abortion, pre-marital sex, and contraception (except in medically necessary situations).”
  11. Sexual orientation. “Oriented toward conventional relationships.”
  12. Marital and parental status. “Family man who can…” or “stable married man or woman capable of keeping watch over…”
  13. Religious allegiance. “Christian workers who can” or “Faith-oriented members of the…”
  14. Labor standards. “On-call status required for 24-hour periods” or “Employees not permitted to take on other work or activities while on call outside the plant.”
  15. Political preferences. “Liberal-minded Democrats to…”

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