Next month, Connecticut legislators from across the political spectrum are set to formally introduce a bill prohibiting employers from inquiring into a job applicant’s age, birthday, or graduation date, unless necessary for a bona fide employment reason. At an announcement on Thursday, January 16, 2020, a wide ranging group of elected officials and other stakeholders heralded the measure as a protection for older workers facing age discrimination in the labor market. Connecticut has the sixth oldest workforce in the country. A similar bill, H.B. No. 6113, passed the Labor Committee last year, but was never presented for a vote in the House.
Connecticut has made incremental progress fighting discrimination through prohibiting certain interview screening questions. Laws passed in 2016 and 2018 banned questions concerning an applicant’s criminal history and pay history, respectively.
While asking an applicant’s age is not yet explicitly illegal under state or federal law, it could provide a basis for an age discrimination claim. Accordingly, we recommend that employers refrain from asking job applicants their age, or information from which age could be derived. Murtha attorneys are available to discuss this bill and any other hiring issues your organization may face.