The Next Step to End Age Discrimination

​            If you follow the national news, either by watching the networks, the cable channels, or social media, you might get the idea that America is still a right-leaning nation when it comes to policy-making. Our Supreme Court is definitely a conservative bench even though it still takes the opportunity from time to time to break that mold.
            Our Senate is essentially controlled by two moderate Democrats from West Virginia and Arizona, two conservative-leaning states. And our House of Representatives is split just about down the middle.
            So the progressive agendas that have been advanced by the left side of the Democratic party haven’t gotten much traction in the Congress.
            But the same is not true in the Nutmeg state. Here, our politics are pretty clearly blue, and our elected representatives are overwhelmingly progressive in their views. With a governor who leans to the left and an Assembly that embraces progressive ideas, Connecticut has become a place where progressive ideas get tested out before going national.
            This coming October, employers and employees are going to see the law of the workplace change in ways that favor of employee in pursuit of the state’s progressive agenda.
            For a lot of you out there, the word “progressive” is a dirty word. But in the most recent case, the new laws make the workplace a little fairer for workers. And for those conservatives out there who work to earn a wage every day, you might like some of these new provisions, even though they might carry a “progressive” label.
            We all know that it is illegal to discriminate against workers based on their age. And as workers begin to reach their late 40s and early 50s, the real possibility that a pink slip might be coming for no other reason than age can be really disconcerting. And yet job decisions continue to be made on the basis of age.
            Employers have different ways of discovering age. They don’t have to ask you when you were born to figure out how old you are. They can usually tell by asking when you graduated high school. Subtract 18 from that year and they have your birth year and know how old you are.
            But under the new law, employers can no longer ask when you graduated. They cannot ask your age, they cannot ask you date of birth, and they cannot ask when you attended or graduated from school.
            The limitation applies to an “initial employment application.”
            Any employer who has three or more employees must comply with the law starting on October 1.
            That means that employers who use a general application are going to have to modify it to take out questions that allow the employer to infer a candidate’s age. And employees that may be concerned that they fall into a potential category for discrimination, should modify their resumes to take out any references that allow age to be inferred.
            The idea behind the law is a good one. Even employers who may not have an intention to discriminate may still make a hiring decision based on age – everything else being equal. If there is no way to determine age from an application, then the playing field will be leveled to allow for the selection of the best candidate, which should be favorable for all involved.           

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