Job seeker voices concern about workplace age bias

“If they're asking that question, it's not a place where you want to work,” HR expert says
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Posted at 11:33 AM, Apr 08, 2021

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — WPTV is helping you bounce back into the workforce and answering important questions from job seekers about whether their age is hindering the chance of landing a job.

“There's no reason to discriminate on somebody's age,” said Nicole Anderson, CEO and founder of MEND, a human resources solutions firm based in West Palm Beach.

Anderson has been helping job seekers connect with career opportunities during the pandemic.

Her team recently helped a candidate who was worried about her older dates of employment.

“You get so much more experience and knowledge and wisdom from the older generation,” said Anderson. “We can't discount that in society. We can't discount that as an employer, especially when it's so hard to get people into work right now and you have people who are eager to come in.”

WPTV also interviewed another job seeker at CareerSource Palm Beach County who voiced a similar concern about the possible signs of age discrimination she recently experienced.

“I know I filled out applications where they asked what year you graduated high school because they're not allowed to ask your age,” said the job seeker, who preferred not to be named. “That itself is discriminating. It's hard, especially for us older folks.”

Anderson encourages those who are in the process of looking for work to focus on the skills they can contribute to a future employer.

“Focus on your skills, not the dates of employment,” Anderson said. “It's been very well received.”

AARP also has a list of resources available for older workers who believe they may be experiencing age discrimination in the workplace.

The organization points to a lack of workplace training available to broaden the perspective that negative age-based remarks should be taken as seriously as those that target race, gender or sexual orientation.

Last month, AARP announced its endorsement of the “Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act” to help strengthen federal protections of older workers.

“Don't put any dates regarding your education at all,” Anderson said. “If you only went to high school, just put that you graduated high school and don't put a date there.”

Anderson believes all information about age and graduation dates should be excluded from a candidate’s application altogether.

“Don't answer those questions if they ask them,” added Anderson. “If they're asking that question, it's not a place where you want to work.”

Nicole Anderson is hosting a free resume and interview workshop to offering one-on-one assistance to job seekers.