It is an unwritten rule in polite society that anyone who feels compelled to guess a person’s age should always guess down.
Most members of the HR profession know to avoid at all costs any mention of an employee’s or applicant’s age.
That’s why it’s hard to sympathize with Joseph Kestenbaum, an investor with Unitek USA, a Blue Bell communications firm, who reportedly asked a 55-year-old applicant seeking an HR director’s position, “How old are you, 78?”
According to the EEOC, Frank Bruno had aced his interviews with topand was all but assured Unitek’s top HR job when he sat for his final interview with Kestenbaum. Whether Kestenbaum was trying to be funny, or whether he’s merely clueless, he thrust that ill-fated, ageist parry Bruno’s way in the guise of an interview question.
Bruno reportedly dodged, saying nothing in response. He was not offered the job, which went instead to a 36-year-old woman with half the experience.
Who would have thought an HR pro might sue in such a case?