Café owner advertises for younger staff despite discrimination laws

A café owner in Palmerston North has garnered attention after displaying an advert looking for staff members between the ages of 18 and 27. Paul Eak Leang, the owner of the Black Pearl Café, said that it wasn’t about discrimination, but about having a good team ethic. “I find that those ages work with us the best. It’s about the nature of the business.”

Some people have responded by saying that if the sign were advertising a specific race or gender, then there would be more of a backlash—where it stands though, attention has been captured with this sign, positive or negative.

Under the Human Rights Act 1993, it is illegal to discriminate on the base of age unless the law requires it, like a bar, etc. On top of that, it is also unlawful to demonstrate the intention to discriminate.

It is suggested that most people have heard about or witnessed age discrimination, but they do not know what to do with their complaint. Paul Jarvie, Employers and Manufacturers Association employment relations and safety manager said that he had only heard of a small number of ageism complaints and no prosecutions. Discrimination complaints can be laid through the Human Rights Commission.

Other forms of job-focussed discrimination are present in New Zealand such as cultural tattoos that are visible to the public eye, advertising for particular genders, or even body-types or shapes, and discrimination against those with guide dogs, to name a few.