Indeed, there are 50,000 reasons to avoid “age will matter” in an applicant’s rejection email.

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Remember that blog post I had last Spring. I’m talking about the one about an employment agency that allegedly emailed a job applicant the following cringe-worthy, what we’re really saying here is “sue me” rejection email:

“Thanks for your reply. I check the details of [sic] you. And you [sic] born in 1945. So I discussed with the client side. Age will matter. So that’s why I can’t [sic] be able to submit your profile to client side.”

Well, that company just settled with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for $50,000 and lots of equitable relief.

Yes, water is wet, and the sky is blue.

Here’s more from the EEOC press release:

 

“A basic principle of anti-discrimination law requires that job applicants be judged on their individual qualifications. Employers and employment agencies that consider an applicant’s protected trait, such as age, violate federal law and will be prosecuted,” said EEOC senior trial attorney Rosemary DiSavino.

Kevin Berry, district director of the EEOC’s New York District Office, added, “This case should send a clear message that federal anti-discrimination laws apply to employment agencies as well as employers. An employment agency’s refusal to refer a qualified applicant because of the applicant’s age is a plain violation of the ADEA.”

As part of the consent decree, the employment agency is not allowed to request or solicit an applicant’s year of birth before referring the applicant to a prospective employer.

Pause.

Grab your job application and a red pen.

Generally, you should not be inquiring about a job applicant’s age, unless the applicant must be at least a certain age (e.g., 18) to fill the position. And, even then, you should not be asking for the applicant’s date of birth. Instead, the question is: Are you at least ___ years of age?

Similarly, please train your managers not to ask questions during the job interview that are designed to elicit information about an applicant’s age. For example, when did you graduate high school? Not good.


Finally, on a completely unrelated note, I will be presenting my “I’ll Help You Become an ADA Accommodation Expert” series at the sold-out 2018 SHRM Employment Law & Legislative Conference in Washington, DC, today and at the Tri-State HRMA Legal Symposium, Rowan College at Gloucester County, NJ, on March 13, 2018. For details, click here.

If you would like a copy of my PowerPoint, I’m happy to share.

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“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”