It can be difficult to know exactly why you did not get offered a job for which you applied. Was there a more qualified candidate? Did another candidate have more experience than you? In your interview, did you make a statement that suggested you were not the best fit for the position? All of these questions generally are within the realm of acceptability when it comes to employment law. However, for many job applicants over the age of 40, one of the questions that often comes up after getting rejected for a job is this one: Was I rejected for the position because of my age? As a recent article in Forbes suggests, job hunters over the age of 40 are not alone in wondering whether their rejection amounts to age discrimination.
What should you know about protections against age discrimination when you are applying for a job, and after you are rejected for a position?
Protections for Job Applicants Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the New York State Human Rights Law both provide protections for job applicants who are age 40 and older. State law may provide more protection for job applicants, given that it applies to employers with four or more employees, while the federal law applies to employers with at least 20 employees. In other words, smaller employers and businesses can be held accountable under the New York State Human Rights Law whereas they may not be accountable under the ADEA.
Age discrimination laws prevent employers from discriminating against a person because of his or her age in any of the following situations:
- Job assignments
- Fringe benefits
- Other conditions or terms of a person’s employment.
To be clear, discrimination in the hiring process is prohibited. As such, you cannot be refused a position because of your age.
The process for filing a state complaint is different from the process for filing a federal complaint. For an age discrimination complaint under the New York State Human Rights Law, the employee must go through the New York State Division of Human Rights. If you want to file a federal complaint instead, you will need to file your charge through the EEOC with an EEO counselor.
Signs of Age Discrimination
How can you prove that you were discriminated against in the hiring process based on your age? Age discrimination can be difficult to prove, but a tip sheet from the AARP provides some common signs that age discrimination might have occurred in the hiring process:
- Older workers at the company have been fired or were offered buyouts; and
- A younger employee got the job you applied for, and the company has been hiring only young people for its advertised jobs.
You may also be able to use the language of the job ad as evidence that the employer discriminated against you based on your age.
A New York Employment Discrimination Lawyer Can Help
If you were refused a job because of your age, a New York employment discrimination attorney can speak with you about your options for filing an age discrimination lawsuit. Contact the Law Offices of Mahir S. Nisar today.