April 15, 2021

Senator Haskell Joins Senate Approval of Anti-Age Discrimination Bill

HARTFORD – The state Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill that would make Connecticut a national leader in protecting older workers from age discrimination. State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) proudly voted in support of the legislation.

The bill prohibits employers from asking for an applicants’ date of birth or school graduation and/or attendance dates on job applications. If enacted, Connecticut would be one of just a few states in America that explicitly bans this type of information on job applications.

The bill now heads to the state House of Representatives for consideration. The bill passed the legislature’s Aging Committee on a unanimous and bipartisan basis in February.

“Age discrimination still exists today, and it can be as simple as a rejection based on a birth year or a graduation date,” said Sen. Haskell. “We all know that discrimination against a potential new hire is already illegal. Unfortunately, loopholes in our law leave older workers vulnerable to bias when they apply for a job.”

Senate Bill 56, “AN ACT DETERRING AGE DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT APPLICATION,” is the same bill that received widespread support last year – including from the Connecticut AARP, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, and a group of West Hartford seniors – before the coronavirus pandemic ended the 2020 legislative session.

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.