Age Should Not be a Factor in Your WorkPlace

John Krautzel
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If you hire employees, you need to be aware of the potential for age discrimination in the workplace. In simple terms, age discrimination is the unfair treatment of someone simply because of his age. Unless a candidate is under the minimum age required to work in your state, you are not supposed to consider age in the hiring process. If you are concerned about this issue, follow these tips for avoiding ageism.

Familiarize yourself with federal and state laws regarding age discrimination. Before you can comply with the rules, you need to know what they are. You should also read up on the minimum age requirements for employees in your state or industry. You don't want to be accused of age discrimination because you hired someone who is technically too young for the job. Although there are legal provisions for minor children who work on family farms, minors are typically not allowed to operate dangerous machines or work in hazardous areas.

Stick to job-related questions during the interview process. Your hiring decisions should always be based on a candidate's ability to perform the essential functions of the job. Age, race and other protected characteristics should not play a role in the hiring decision. To prevent unintentional age discrimination, do not ask candidates how old they are or when they were born. If the job requires a diploma or degree, you can ask candidates if they graduated, but you shouldn't ask them to provide graduation dates.

Advertise in a variety of publications. If you only advertise on college job boards or in publications read by young people, you're only going to attract young applicants. This can be seen as age discrimination, especially if there are older workers who are more qualified to perform the essential functions of a job. In this case, avoiding age discrimination has an added bonus: it's easier to attract qualified applicants.

Follow the same hiring process for every candidate. To avoid accusations of age discrimination, you need to treat all applicants the same way. If possible, create a scoring system based on objective criteria. Applicants with the highest scores should be the ones chosen to participate in one-on-one interviews. Be careful not to hire anyone who does not meet the minimum requirements outlined in the job advertisement. If you hire someone without the necessary qualifications over an older applicant who has every qualification on the list, you're putting your company at risk for being accused of age discrimination.

Avoiding ageism is required by the law, and it makes good business sense. To avoid accusations of age discrimination, follow the letter of the law every time you hire a new employee. If you ask an older applicant to come in for an interview, do not ask any questions related to age. Treating all applicants the same way can help you avoid age discrimination and choose the right employees for your company.

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