Q. I work as an HR generalist at a large hospital. My supervisor told me to ask a certain applicant for her date of birth during the hiring process. Isn’t it illegal to ask for an applicant’s birth date? — K.G., Philadelphia
A. Many employers (and their lawyers) mistakenly believe that the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) creates an absolute prohibition against asking an applicant his or her age. This is not true.
An employer can ask for an applicant’s date of birth if there’s a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for doing so, such as conducting a . You should, however, exercise discretion and ask for birth dates only when truly necessary.
Also, as an additional precaution, conduct and ask for the birth dates after you’ve made a conditional employment offer (i.e., after you tell the applicant “the job is yours pending satisfactory results from your background check”). That way, applicants will be hard-pressed to argue that age was a consideration.
- What legal hoops must we jump through if we conduct background checks on applicants?
- Employees have no right to change duties to fit beliefs
- Documentation key to stopping that 2nd suit!
- Public employers, take note: Appeals court rules on firefighter/Paramedic exemption
- Good cause to act? Don't wait to terminate