Your graduation year...
Has a potential (or existing) employer ever asked you for your graduation year? If so, you are NOT alone. This may seem like a harmless question, but chances are the employer is trying to determine your age. Here are some things you should know and what you can do!
-What employers CAN ask
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act does NOT prohibit an employer from asking about an applicant’s (or employee’s age), or from asking other questions that may help the employer determine a person’s age such as when you graduated high school or college. It is currently legal for them to inquire.
-What they CAN’T do
It is however 100% illegal for the employer to take that information (graduation date, age, etc) and then discriminate based on that individual’s age. For example, saying “You are too old for this role.”
-Is this happening to OTHER people
According to AARP, two out of three workers between ages 45 and 74 say they have seen or experienced age discrimination at work, and job seekers over age 35 cite it as a top obstacle to getting hired. If you happen to work in the high-tech or entertainment industries, your chances of experiencing age discrimination are even higher.
-What YOU can do
Unfortunately, you cannot prevent someone from inquiring about your age. If they truly want to know they will likely ask, but if they do, answer honestly and with confidence. Make sure your skills are updated and clearly show in your resume that you can take on the role before you even apply. If your skills aren’t current, take a class or two and be prepared before you apply. When in doubt if you feel the company just might not be right for you, do your research! Check out this post on how to determine a company’s culture, and learn more about how to defeat ageism HERE.