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State Senator

Derek Slap

Representing West Hartford, Farmington, Burlington and Bloomfield

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Sen. Slap, Labor Committee Take Aim at Age Discrimination

Bill to prohibit date of birth & graduation questions on job applications passes committee

HARTFORD – A bill that would eliminate questions about a job applicant’s date of birth or high school or college graduation date was voted out of the Labor Committee today, and that’s good news for older Connecticut residents who are looking for work in a competitive and sometimes ageist job market, says state Senator Derek Slap (D-West Hartford).

Sen. Slap is the main proponent behind House Bill 6113, “AN ACT PROHIBITING EMPLOYERS FROM INQUIRING ABOUT DATE OF BIRTH OR DATE OF GRADUATION ON EMPLOYMENT APPLICATIONS,” which seeks to restrict employers from requiring an applicant’s date of birth or date of graduation on an initial employment application.

The bill was voted out of the Labor Committee today on a near-unanimous and bipartisan basis and now heads to the House floor for further consideration.

“There’s a loophole in current employment law where employers can’t ask about age in an interview, but they can demand that information on an application. Both approaches are imprudent if employers are looking for an experienced, steady, efficient workforce,” Sen. Slap said. “The bill approved today in the Labor Committee will take age as a disqualifier out of the early stages of the job application process, and will hopefully lead to more residents in Connecticut age 55-plus getting a foot in the door for their next job. It’s not only the fair thing to do, it makes economic sense and it could help close some of the pay equity gap between men and women in the all-important decades leading up to retirement.”

“I’m so pleased that the bill passed the Labor Committee,” said Sheila Diamond, Executive Director of the Seniors Job Bank who testified in favor of the bill with Sen. Slap. “Age discrimination is such a pervasive problem. This bill will help encourage employers to choose candidates based on their skills and experience, which is what most job candidates of any age want.”

The Connecticut chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons – the AARP – also testified in support of HB 6113 at its February 14 public hearing, saying the issue of discrimination against older people in the job market “never fails to be raised as a concern” among some of Connecticut’s 600,000 AARP members.

“Age discrimination is illegal and shortsighted. No matter sex, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or national origin, we all have in common the reality of aging and the need for financial security,” said Nora L. Duncan, State Director for AARP Connecticut. “A 2009 Supreme Court Decision resulted in age discrimination requiring a higher burden of proof than other illegal discrimination and signaled to employers that some level of age discrimination is allowable when, in fact, it is not. AARP Connecticut has supported the language voted out of the Labor Committee for three years and we are confident that 2019 is year we will pass it and help level the playing field for age 50-plus job seekers.”

Sen. Slap has noted previously that 61 percent of AARP members had seen or experienced some form of age discrimination, and that 40 percent of citizens age 55 or older are actively looking for employment.

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