Employment decisions based on a person’s age are illegal. What can you do if you suspect you were turned down for a job because of your age?
In order to take legal action based on age discrimination, you must prove your age was the reason for the employment decision. For instance, if you are over 50 and lack any experience or education in a field, chances are a potential employer will not even consider your age when choosing not to hire you for a position. You must assess whether you are truly the most qualified candidate before considering whether age discrimination is an issue.
If you were at least as qualified, or more so, than other applications, there are a couple of other questions you can ask to determine if age was a factor.
#1: Were questions asked during or after the interview that indicated there was an age bias? For instance, did the interviewer ask whether you are close to or considering retirement? Did they ask you how long you plan to continue working, or were you asked directly about your age? Also consider the ways in which the interviewer described the company’s culture and staff. There is rarely direct evidence that you were passed over due to age, but the occasional foolish employer makes a comment that clearly indicates older employees are not considered seriously for work within the company.
#2: Are there hiring requirements that indicate age could be a factor in whether you are hired? Companies in the past have instituted qualifications that have nothing to do with an employee’s ability to perform his or her job duties just as a round-about way of preventing older employees from applying. For instance, an administrative job could list a physical requirement that would be tougher for an older employee to fill. Something like this could also violate other employment laws related to discrimination.
If you are rejected for a job and you believe it was because of your age, do your best to gather details about the person who was hired instead of you. If it turns out he or she was less qualified but younger, that gives you a fairly strong case against the employer.
Your best bet if you believe you were a victim of age discrimination is to contact an attorney. He or she can help you gather information and will use credible resources to investigate the hiring practices of the company.
While Federal Law only prohibits age discrimination for individuals forty years old or older, New York State and New York City law prohibit age discrimination on the basis of age for any person. For example, an employer may post a requirement that adversely affects younger workers. This is illegal under State and City law.
For more information about age discrimination or to speak to someone about laws in the workplace, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.