Ask a Recruiter: Age Discrimination
Several readers have asked questions about what to do if you suspect you are being discriminated against based on age.
We went back and talked to Larry Cary of Cary Kane LLP. Here are some things to know about age discrimination during your job search:
- If you think you’ve experienced age discrimination, talk to an attorney or the EEOC.
- Federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of age for people who are 40 and older. New York State law prohibits discrimination on the basis of age if you are 21 or older. (As a practical matter, it is generally people in their 50s who are discriminated against by people in their 30s or 40s. However, there are always exceptions to every rule.)
- Most, but not all employers are covered by age discrimination laws. It depends on the size of the company.
- Unless it is for the purpose of determining whether or not you are old enough to legally work (i.e., you are a teenager), an employer can NOT lawfully ask about your age.
- Age, like race, is a characteristic that is visible. So, even if questions of age are not asked, an employer may still be using age to discriminate. The case would depend on the age of both the interviewer and the applicant, their conversation, and the applicant’s qualifications for the job in question. Was there a legitimate reason – not related to age – that the applicant didn’t get the job? Did the interviewer say something that implied s/he was considering age (like, “I expected you to be younger)?
*Cary Kane LLP is a full-service employment and labor law firm, representing workers, employees, and unions. They can be found on the web at www.carykanelaw.com.
The views, opinions, or expressions provided by the attorney do not represent the views, opinions, or expressions of the City of New York and/or the New York City Department of Small Business Services. The City of New York and the New York City Department of Small Business Services are not your attorney and therefore all prospective candidates are encouraged to seek the appropriate legal advice.