Can Companies Legally Ask You How Old You Are?

Q:  Can you be required to give your age as part of a job application? I long thought this was not legally allowed but I’m hearing that employers can ask your age but are not allowed to use it as a factor when they are considering hiring you.

I don’t know of any law that dictates what specific questions can be asked in an interview. I believe this idea of what questions should and should not be asked comes from the desire to avoid potential problems if a person is not hired. If the interviewer does not ask age related questions then the argument they discriminated based on age is harder to make. I believe the law simply states that companies can’t discriminate from hiring someone based on age. Therefore it is wise to avoid any appearance of using age as a factor when interviewing.

In order to be sure, I asked Laura Fleming, a labor attorney and partner with the  Newport Beach law firm Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth for her advice.

It is unlawful to discriminate against applicants who are over 40 years old.  To avoid the appearance of discrimination, employers should not ask age-related questions, including questions about high school graduation date.

To download the free chapter on Conducting an Effective Phone Interview from our book “This Is NOT The Position I Accepted” CLICK HERE and then click on the Free Search Resources link.

How effective is your job search?  If you are not sure, download our free 8 Matrix Job Search Self-Assessment Scorecard. CLICK HERE and then click on the Free Search Resource link.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard


About the Author

Brad Remillard is a founding Partner of IMPACT Hiring Solutions, co-author of "You're NOT the Person I Hired", and "This is NOT the Position I Accepted". Brad is an award-winning international speaker, retained executive recruiter, and expert on hiring and retaining top talent, and executive job search.

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