As an employer or company owner, do you ask questions like this when interviewing a job candidate?
- Are you planning on retiring soon?
- How many years do you plan on working in this field?
Companies are conscious of the expenses involved with high job turnover rates. Hiring an employee who would potentially stay with the company for many years is to the company’s advantage.
However recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against a state agency for failing to hire an attorney for a vacant appeals officer position. The applicant, Joseph Bednanik was over the of 40, graduated law school with honors and had around 30 years of legal experience. He had worked 17 years with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission when interviewing for the appeals officer position with the Pennsylvania Office of Public Records. Bednanik had extensive experience in a related field and a good reference for the position. During the second interview, the executive director expressed concerns that Joseph may have a short tenure and retire soon. The office hired a far less experienced applicant who was 15 years younger and did not hire Bednanik because of age considerations.
The EEOC sued based on age discrimination. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) prohibits discrimination in hiring based on the age of applicants who are 40 years or older.
While hiring someone with potential longevity in a position seems like good business sense, this is not a good idea when potential age discrimination is an issue. Business owners are wise to consult with an experienced employment litigation lawyer about human resources policies that avoid discrimination issues. For more than two decades, our attorneys at Stephen Hans Associates have successfully defended employers’ rights in litigation and settlement negotiations.