Saud Anwar

State Senator

Saud Anwar

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working For You

January 16, 2020

Sen. Anwar Joins Sen. Slap, Bipartisan Legislators to Support Bill Protecting Older Job Applicants From Age Discrimination

HARTFORD – State Senator Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor) joined State Senator Derek Slap (D-West Hartford) and a bipartisan group of legislators and advocates today for the announcement of their support for a bill that prohibits employers from asking the age, date of birth, or graduation dates of job applicants, unless a particular age is a bona fide occupational qualification. Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) and fellow Democratic State Senators Alex Bergstein (D-Greenwich) and Julie Kushner (D-Danbury) were among gathered officials.

“Older workers are part of the fastest-growing age demographic in our communities,” said Sen. Anwar. “This isn’t just an issue of fairness, it’s an issue that can impact health and livelihood. Studies show that people who work longer live longer. Some need their jobs to afford their lives, while others work to support their health or to interact with people socially. If they are not getting that opportunity due to discrimination, that is unfair. I am glad Senator Slap is taking a leadership role to fight this problem. No community should accept age discrimination.”

“This bill will help close a very costly loophole for older workers in Connecticut who disproportionately face under-employment and unemployment,” said Sen. Slap. “No one should be vetted for a job based solely on their age. This bill will make our economy fairer and stronger.”

With 436,000 workers in their mid-50’s, Connecticut has the 6th-oldest workforce in the nation, with a median age of 41 (as of 2017.) Just 20% of Connecticut employees were over the age 54 in 2008; today that figure is 26.5%, with the health care, manufacturing, educational services and retail trade industries employing the most workers over age 54.

A 2018 AARP survey found about 60% of older workers have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace, and 76% of them see age discrimination as a hurdle to finding a new job. Meanwhile, nearly a third of U.S. households headed by someone age 55 or older have no retirement savings or pension, meaning they’ll have to continue working or rely on Social Security in order to survive financially.

“According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, older workers will make up the fastest-growing segment of the workforce from 2014 to 2024,” said Nora L. Duncan, State Director for the AARP of Connecticut. “While age discrimination is illegal, we live in a society where age seems to be the last acceptable bias. Whether it’s intentional or not, knowing someone’s age can create bias that keeps a qualified job applicant from getting a fair chance at being considered for a position. This legislation reduces that risk and levels the playing field.”

The bill, which will be formally introduced once session begins in February, will closely the follow the language of a similar bill introduced last year, House Bill 6113. That bill, also introduced by Sen. Slap and co-sponsored by 36 other legislators, noted that, “except in the case of a bona fide occupational qualification or need,” employers are not allowed to “request or require a prospective employee’s age, date of birth or date of graduation from an educational institution on an initial employment application.”

Last year’s bill passed the Labor Committee in March but was never raised in the House for a vote.

Sen. Slap encourages anyone who may have been impacted by age discrimination during the hiring process, and who is willing to testify about that at a public hearing on the bill, to contact his legislative office at 860-240-1436.