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California Employment Lawyers > Blog > Employment > Can My Employer Ask About My Age?

Can My Employer Ask About My Age?


Age is a somewhat complicated topic to navigate in the context of employment law. While there are protections for employees related to their age, there are also caveats. They do not apply across the board as they do when it comes to gender or race. Instead, only employees over the age of 40 are protected under the law. Additionally, if you are not an expert in employment law, it can be hard to find the line between what is permissible behavior and what could constitute illegal, protected, or discriminatory activity. The good news is that California offers more legal protections to employees than many other states, so if you believe you have suffered adverse employment effects or financial or financial or professional harm based on your age, it’s worth talking to a lawyer to determine what legal options may exist for you.

Asking About Age in an Interview

Asking about age in an interview or on an employment application may seem like something that should be illegal, but in fact, it is entirely permissible. There are a number of reasons why an employer may ask about an applicant’s age or birthdate, primarily to verify their identity when it comes to conducting a background check. However, if the questions extend beyond a purely factual inquiry into your age or date of birth, then it can become legally problematic. For instance, if a potential employer repeatedly asks about your age, makes comments suggesting concern about your age or how they wouldn’t usually interview or hire someone of your age, or asks whether you’ll be retiring soon, and then subsequently does not give you the job, this can be a strong indicator that they relied on your protected age status in rejecting you for the position. Of course, this only applies if you are over 40 years of age. It is not illegal or discriminatory for an employer to refuse employment to someone that they believe is “too young” for the role.

Age Discrimination in Employment

An employer cannot make assignments, promotions, or other employment decisions on the basis of age. For instance, an employer cannot elect not to promote a qualified employee based on the fact that the employer believes that they are too close to retirement age or that they need “younger blood.” If the employer requires the employees to complete a test in order to qualify for certain job duties or roles, this test must be unrelated to age. Additionally, any job duties or requirements must be unrelated to age.

Schedule a Consultation with Costanzo Law

If you have experienced negative employment effects or financial harm as a result of illegal harassment or discrimination related to your age, the experienced San Jose employment law attorneys at Costanzo Law Firm are ready to hold your employer accountable and get the compensation that you are entitled to. Contact the Costanzo Law Group today to schedule your consultation and start taking your power back.

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