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Monday, September 26, 2011

Age Discrimination Isn’t About Dates

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I am 60 years old. I recently applied for a job and there were numerous places on the application as well as several other pieces of paperwork that I had to fill out where I had to list my DOB or just tell someone involved in the process what my age was (the drug test lady just said plainly “how old are you?”).

Older workers always hear that a prospective employer cannot inquire as to your age. When it happens, the candidate dares not refuse to answer certain questions or the process is over. The candidate doesn’t dare say something like “you’re not allowed to ask me that” because it seems like he or she is suggesting they know more than the HR person in regards to what is and is not allowed. But if the company is asking how old you are and you’re over 60, it’s the kiss of death (or we assume it to be).

How does one deal with these age related questions when one is a senior citizen who still need employment? In this day and age when all kinds of info can be gleaned from the internet, a person’s age is one of the easiest things you can find out. Questions like “when did you graduate from high school” dates you immediately. So when someone is asked this question, do we simply excuse ourselves and thank the HR person for seeing us? Do we go through the process even though we assume it’s not going to end well? Or do we assume that the HR person has already found our age on the internet and knows that piece before we even reach the door?

Do we assume that part of the evaluation process is to see how well we have endured the aging process? Are we walking in with a cane and oxygen bottle and look like Phyllis Diller or are we strutting in like a young pup? So if we were given an interview do we go in with the understanding that the HR person likely knows our age and with the belief that they are going to judge us on something more important than age? And by the way…I got the job. Yet for every one like me who succeeded in getting a job, there may 100 sixty-year-olds who didn’t even get an interview despite great credentials.

To read the answer click here: Age Discrimination Isn’t About Dates


Henning Makholm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henning Makholm said...

The age thing is probably a trick in case you sent someone else in to take your place–they might be prepared with a memorized date, but would have to do the math to come up with the age."

Um, I'm pretty sure I'm myself, but I would have to do the math to come up with my age. Hmm, I think was 37 just a few months ago, or was it a year? Did my birthday pass since last I needed to know? Easier to just subtract my birth date from now when the demand comes up.