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Could this be age discrimination?

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in Your Office Coach

Question:  “I’m concerned that I may be a victim of discrimination. After joining this firm a year ago, I was recently approached about taking a new position in another department. My current boss supported this move.The other manager and I discussed my transfer numerous times. He told his superiors that I was his candidate of choice.  He said the job description would be built around my qualifications and that he would only interview others as a token. Now his total support seems to have faded. Although the position requisition was approved several weeks ago, I have heard nothing more about a transfer. I’m wondering if my age may be an issue. In the past three months, both managers have asked my age, which is 58. Their questions came up in casual conversation, unrelated to work, but it makes me suspicious. What’s your opinion?  —Mistrustful

Answer:  Age discrimination is a possibility.  However, since your age is in your personnel record, the managers could easily discover it without asking you.  And you’re only a year older than when you were hired.  

Unfortunately, promised career moves can be derailed for many reasons. Management may have restructured the position requirements. Or another qualified candidate might have unexpectedly emerged during those “token” interviews.  

Nevertheless, if you were essentially promised this job, you deserve an explanation.  Without becoming angry or accusatory, ask the manager for an update.  

For example: “It’s been awhile since I’ve heard anything about the new position that we discussed.  I know the requisition was approved, so I wanted to find out what happens next.”

You may learn that you’re still slotted for this job.  But if not, listen carefully to see if the reasons seem legitimate.

If you want to become more career savvy, check out Ten Critical Career Moments.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Offended February 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm

On the subject of age discrimination in hiring, my significant other and I have each been required to fill out background check forms that include our full birthdates. Additionally, we’ve been asked for our college graduation dates. Even though the forms clearly state that age will not be a factor in interviewing / hiring, it’s obvious that we are over 50.

I see no good reason that these forms can’t wait until the company has either made an offer or is about to make an offer of employment. Do you?


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