Did you know that laws against age discrimination apply in the hiring process?

Have you applied for a job only to be told that the company is looking for a “recent college grad” or an “energetic person”?

These phrases can imply age-based hiring discrimination.

The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects people age 40 and older from employment discrimination based on their age. The law applies to employers with 20 or more employees, plus federal, state and local governments.  Please see our prior posts.

The laws against discrimination make it illegal to discriminate against people age 40 and older whether they are already an employee or applying for the job.  The ADEA applies to all employment practices, including hiring, terminations, pay, promotions, benefits and any other terms of employment.

For example, an interviewer can ask about your age but they shouldn’t because if you are not hired it will be difficult for that employer to prove that age wasn’t a hiring factor in not hiring you.

Also, courts have frowned on employers who take the view that certain types of jobs should go only to younger people because older ones don’t have the energy or “image” for a specific job.

Recently Cavalier Telephone  Company paid $1 million to settle an age discrimination lawsuit.  It was found that the company made it a practice of not to hire applicants over 40 years old by saying “both verbally and in writing that the company was looking for candidates for its sales positions who were ‘recent college graduates,’ and in their ‘early 20s or 30s.’”

So when you are looking for a job be aware of the phrases used by the interviewer.  If you think you have been discriminated against because of you age, please tell me your story.

Abbey Spanier, LLP, located in New York City, is a well recognized national class action and complex litigation law firm.  The Firm is presently litigating an age discrimination case against Quest Diagnostics.