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EEOC Finds No Age Discrimination In Not Hiring 71-Year-Old Applicant For Investigator Position

Individuals are turned down for jobs for a variety of reasons. Some job applicants are simply unqualified for the position sought, while others are over-qualified. However, there are occasions when job applicants are turned away for discriminatory reasons, such as race or age. Accordingly, it is important for business owners to work with a Georgia employment attorney to ensure that their policies and hiring practices are legal and nondiscriminatory in every way. An attorney can appropriately evaluate employment policies and make a determination with respect to the possibility or existence of discriminatory hiring practices that might subject a business to litigation.

Claims are made against all types of employers–even the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission itself–regarding their hiring practices. In fact, the EEOC recently decided a case that involved a 71-year-old woman who sought an investigator position with the agency back in 2010.

According to the decision, the agency had a pool of 13 qualified applicants, including the above-mentioned 71-year-old woman, who interviewed for the position. Once all the interviews were completed, the panel who conducted the interviews chose to refer a 35-year-old for the position, primarily based on the fact that the applicant had gone to law school. The panel believed that the law school education would be beneficial to the applicant’s ability to effectively function in the investigator position. The panel submitted the 35-year-old’s name to the selecting individual who ultimately approved the panel’s referral without review of the other applicants’ applications.

The Commission found that the 71-year-old woman had shown sufficient evidence of the occurrence of age discrimination; however, it also determined that the agency’s reasoning for hiring a younger person was legitimate and non-discriminatory.

What You Need to Know as an Employer

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 is a federal law that protects workers who are over the age of 40 from being discriminated against with respect to employment matters. Your Georgia employment attorney will tell you that if a person has been treated in a different manner than other individuals in similar employment-related situations due to his or her age, the individual might be the victim of age discrimination. That said, your attorney can help you establish policies and practices that will work to avoid the appearance of discrimination and deter the possibility of complaints being filed against you and your business.

In the state of Georgia, there are two laws specifically aimed at age discrimination, one of which applies specifically to public employers (state agencies and local governments) and the other which applies to all employers. In order to prove age discrimination, individuals will likely work hard to obtain written and verbal statements that might demonstrate your tendencies to prefer younger workers over older individuals. Accordingly, it is imperative that you work with a well-versed Georgia employment attorney who can ensure that you have legitimate business reasons for making the choices that you make with respect to your hiring and firing practices.

If you have any questions or concerns about your business policies and whether or not they subject you to possible litigation, contact our employment attorneys at Mays and Kerr today.