The attorney, who has worked for the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission for 17 years, applied for an appeals officer position with the Open Records Office. Appeals officers rule when citizens challenge government decisions to not release records.
Despite his more than 30 years of legal experience, the agency hired a less experienced attorney for the job.
In his complaint, the attorney claims that the Office of Open Records executive director cited concerns about how long the attorney would be in the position given how close he was to retirement.
The attorney filed a complaint with the EEOC alleging the agency discriminated against him because of his age.
Note: This is a key training issue for employers. Making remarks about an employee’s age during hiring interviews is an invitation to be sued. Train everyone who conducts job interviews to avoid the age issue altogether. Age-related issues such as how close an applicant is to retirement are also off limits and generally should not be a factor in any hiring decision.