Determining the More Subtle Instances of Age Discrimination

As an employer, it is important to consider what types of hiring process errors can lead to age discrimination lawsuits. Does the candidate need to overhear the hiring manager say the company wants to hire someone younger? Or hear the recruiter say someone is too old for the job? In most instances, age discrimination takes on a more subtle form than these two blatant examples of age discrimination.

A case in point is one where a complainant appealed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) after initially having his claim denied. Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the applicant argued that his qualifications were superior to the other applicant’s qualifications and that his age was the only reason for hiring the other candidate. The position was for an industrial property management specialist position, entitled Contract Price/Analyst. The following are noteworthy arguments made during appeal:

  • The hiring manager said he did not know the applicant’s age, but the resume indicated the complainant was over the age of 40
  • The complainant had more experience as a contract price/cost analyst than the selectee
  • The complainant had an MBA while the selectee only had a BA in business administration
  • The complainant had a BA in accounting while the selectee had an MA in Education (an unrelated field for the job)
  • The complainant received many awards in his field and had significantly more overall relevant experience for the contract price/cost analyst position working as an auditor, financial examiner, contract price/analyst and industrial property management specialist
  • The selectee’s experience was largely in the field of education

As a result of the facts uncovered in this review, the EEOC determined that the non-selection of the complainant was unreasonable. The EEOC ordered that the complainant be offered the position or an equivalent position with appropriate back pay and benefits. The management official who erred in hiring was to be provided with appropriate training.

Stephan Hans & Associates provides effective legal advice and representation to employers in the New York City area, including Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Long Island and Westchester.

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