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Old 07-04-2011, 07:49 PM
Location: Wisconsin
15,050 posts, read 14,342,914 times
Reputation: 34045


My husband and I have noticed that more and more job listings state that you need to be able to lift a certain amount of weight even when it doesn't seem likely that it would be needed for that type of job. A recent posting from the security company where he used to work listed being able "to lift 50 pounds regularity" as a requirement for employment. My husband told me that in his nine years as a security guard for that company (at a variety of work sites) the heaviest things that he ever needed to lift were a walkie-talkie and a flashlight. Are they doing this to discourage older people from applying? For example, a recent opening for a night security guard said that you needed to be able "to lift 70 pounds regularily and repeatedly". It listed in detail what you would be doing (ie. check to see if doors were locked, patrol the parking lot, write reports, etc) but nothing was listed that implied that any lifting was required at all. If a real emergency happened my husband could probably lift 50 or 70 pounds but not "regularily and repeatedly". Should he apply for jobs that have these lifting requirement? And if so, what should he say if they ask about "lifting 70 pounds regularily and repeatedly"? Do you think that companies are doing this so older workers or overweight,out-of -shape workers do not apply?
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Old 07-04-2011, 08:00 PM
16,341 posts, read 18,645,967 times
Reputation: 31754
It very well could be. I can't imagine why a nighttime security guard who checks on doors and walks around would be lifting heavy items.

He could apply and if called in for an interview ask them what is that someone would be lifting on a regular basis.

Unless they're having security guards unload trucks at a warehouse or a store combined with regular security duties.
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Old 07-04-2011, 08:33 PM
4,805 posts, read 18,969,602 times
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Do you think that companies are doing this so older workers or overweight,out-of -shape workers do not apply?
Presumably a guard might need to give chase or subdue an intruder, so yeah, I thin they would want to deter out-of-shape people from applying, and others who are not capable of performing these duties. The weight thing might be security gates, either lifted or pushed open and closed. They can be heavy.

But if your husband thinks he is otherwise qualified, he should go ahead and apply. If it turns out this is a serious requirement and he has to withdraw his application, then he's no worse off than he would be if he doesn't try at all.

Last edited by kodaka; 07-04-2011 at 09:04 PM..
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Old 07-04-2011, 09:02 PM
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
27,078 posts, read 47,372,554 times
Reputation: 25931
i just recently hired a 54 year-old woman for a position requiring ability to lift 50 lbs., and she's done just fine. It's only 2-3 days a month in the field when this may needed but we still have to put it into the requirements. We don't test for it, but if the person cannot do it they'd fail probation.

As for the security guard positions, I guarantee that I wouldn't want to be protected by a security guard that can't lift 70 lbs.
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Old 07-04-2011, 11:02 PM
1,410 posts, read 1,674,550 times
Reputation: 1156
I thought maybe it was some code for 'males preferred'
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Old 07-05-2011, 03:19 AM
Location: Airports all over the world
5,651 posts, read 5,775,996 times
Reputation: 96159
I am pretty sure employers are doing this to limit their liability later on. I have seen job descriptions for office workers that include "lifting up to 10 lbs". Where I use to work an employee was terminated after refusing to do something on the grounds that he had a disability that prevented him lifting heavy items. When he took the company to court, all they had to do was show a copy of the job description that was given to him and the blank box on his application where he was instructed to list any restrictions he had. The jury only deliberated for 5 minutes before finding the company not liable.
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Old 07-05-2011, 05:16 AM
Location: Stuck in NE GA right now
4,585 posts, read 10,147,910 times
Reputation: 6589
Around here that's a requirement at all the big box stores, grocery stores ect. even if you are apply for a cashier job. At 60 I can't lift 50 lbs repeatedly so I never applied.
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Old 07-05-2011, 02:10 PM
Location: Las Vegas
12,846 posts, read 23,194,924 times
Reputation: 22631
It's politicallycorrectspeak for fit, younger, males only need apply.

The oldest trick in the HR book. You have a job that needs 10 skills and you advertise the job as needing 20 skills. Then you can rightfully reject the candidates you don't want because no one with 20 skill will be applying.
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Old 07-05-2011, 03:15 PM
6,752 posts, read 15,423,405 times
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A company will put a "lifting requirement" to cover their butt over a law suit in case an employee is terminated due to not being able to lift the required weight or even over injury from lifting. There are a number of jobs out there that will have this requirement listed. Some companies will have a manditory physical exam done pending hiring to see what condition a prospective employee is in. I never had a problem passing a physical, but now that I've had a hip replacement and rotator cuff surgery, I highly doubt any company would hire me if heavy lifting is involved. Besides that, I'm too darn old to be lifting that kind of weight anymore! Oh well, I turned 62 last month and start collecting SS next month!
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Old 07-05-2011, 04:07 PM
9,200 posts, read 17,281,425 times
Reputation: 21797
You will only have legal recourse if you apply for the job and are not hired due to the lifting requirement. Then you can file with the EEOC claiming that the hiring practice is discriminatory based on disparate impact. This means that an employer sets up a job "requirement" that on the surface is not illegally discriminatory, but results in discriminating against a protected class. In this case it might be women, older people, or physically disabled people.

But you only have legal recourse if you are personally affected by this, not if you just read it in a help-wanted ad. You'll have to file with the EEOC, and wait for them to determine if there's a possibility that's it discriminatory. Usually, they will cop-out and say they can't make any determination, and they'll issue you a right to sue letter, which just means you're okay to go hire a lawyer and sue them personally. Your best chance will be if the EEOC not only gets your complaint, but also has multiple other similar complaints about the same company.

In its defense, the employer will need to show that lifting 50lbs is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) for that position. If the job really does not necessitate lifting 50 lbs, then it's not a BFOQ. Then it's more likely they will lose.
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