(WCMH) — An Indiana woman lost her job during the pandemic, but while searching for work, said she was asked about her age on several applications. Several months and zero job offers later, she believes she was the victim of age discrimination.
So, she called Better Call 4.
“My biggest concern is that I am still unemployed after 10 weeks of the company closing,” said Judy Mankin. “I have, for the first time in my life, filed for unemployment. And I don’t really feel good about that. But I also would feel even worse if I couldn’t pay my bills.”
The want and need for work motivated Mankin to start the search for a new job. But one question that appeared on several applications caught her attention.
“I had been the human resource manager for five years at the company I’ve just worked for that’s closed. And we were not allowed to ask your age or your date of birth,” Mankin said.
And at 73-years-old, Mankin is concerned that her age is the reason why she’s been turned down for at least four jobs.
“I mean, I know I wouldn’t be a fit for every job. I do know that. But I can’t imagine that there isn’t one of those office assistant jobs that I’ve applied for that I would not have been qualified for,” said Mankin. “I really would like to know what the actual laws are.”
So, Mankin called Better Call 4, and I reached out to local employment attorney Rayl Stepter.
He tells me in part, “While some states may be different, asking an applicant for their age is not illegal.” Stepter says if date of birth is needed for background checks, employers should keep that separate from the application process.
“However,” Stepter goes on to say, “best practices are not always followed, and frankly, some employers do discriminate on the basis of age.”
Stepter also said if someone like Mankin believes they are discriminated against on the basis of age, they should contact an attorney who practices in the field of employment discrimination law.
An alternative is to consider filing with the state’s civil rights commission and/or the equal employment opportunity commission. Those agencies are tasked with investigating age discrimination claims.