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How to legally verify workers’ ages

by on
in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Q. We run an amusement park. We have many jobs that can only be done by people of certain ages. For some jobs, employees must be at least 15, while others have minimum ages of 16, 18 and 21. What is the legal way for us to verify the age of an applicant on an employment application in Ohio?

A.
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations specifically provide that an employer should obtain certificates of age for every minor employed, for every minor claiming to be one or two years above the applicable minimum age for the occupation in question and for every minor claiming to be older than two years above the applicable minimum age for the occupation for which he or she is to be employed if the person, in fact, looks younger.

Because the only prohibition on soliciting age information on job applications are those contained in the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discrimination of older employees, there is no reason that you should not require a certificate of age for every employee under the age of 20.

Likewise, there is no law that prohibits you from asking applicants whether they are at least 21 years of age. The specific requirements for certificates of age, and other rules regarding the employment of minors, can be found on the U.S. Labor Department’s web site at www.dol.gov.

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