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Age Discrimination?
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I wanted to get some feedback from some of the people here that are attorneys. First of all I am posting this from a new account and have cleared this with Dan before doing so. I am a long standing member of the ST board, but as it is a small world I feel better about posting this anonymously. Second, per Dan's request I have changed some details to protect the company identity. Please do not ask or PM me as I do not want to betray the trust Dan has put in me. That being said the material facts are the same.

The job I was interviewing for was with a major company in its industry. The industry is small, but this company has several branches, one of which is where I live. I have known the manager here for a long time. Another employee there encouraged me to contact him about a possible job as they were looking to hire a couple of additional people. I have only had a little experience in the field and was looking to make a switch from the finance world where I have had some pretty good success but was burnt out from. The manager told me that should not be a problem since they had a good training program for new hires and suggested that I do some studying before initial contact with the main office.

Hiring got put on hold for a while, but I would make periodic visits to the branch here and go on field assignments in order to get a true understanding for the job. When the opportunity came up the branch manager called me and made sure I got my name on the list of candidates. He let me know what the initial line of questioning would be during the phone screening and made sure I was up to speed on the information.

After the phone screening, I was invited to go out to a week of intensive training and evaluation. The evaluation consisted of 6 senior level people, one of which was the manager here, critiquing a person's knowledge of the business, formulation of planning strategies for clients, and presentation skills. This was done on our own dime. At no point did the CEO/owner visit the class. By the end of the week I was pulled aside and told that I was "in" provided that the conversation with the CEO went fine.

Up until this point everything is fine. I had a conversation with the CEO and the first questions he asked were, How old are you? and What is your family situation? My wife is an HR director, so I know that these questions were completely out of line and illegal to ask. I did not feel however, that telling him this would help my situation so I answered them. There was a follow up question regarding the fact that this was "young" company and did I think that I would have an issue taking direction from someone 10 years my junior? Of course I answered no, as I see age as no more than a number and if someone is 25 or 65 if they have knowledge I can learn from I'm all ears.

A bit more background, when I was visiting the office here my friend joked that this office was considered the "old" office in the company as everyone there is over the age of 35. And that the CEO likes to hire young people so that he can make sure that his systems are imprinted on them without bias towards other systems.

The director here was still giving me positive feedback until I received the rejection notice. I talked to him and asked for feedback. He said all 6 people evaluating me recommended me for the job. He said it was not an experience issue and that others had really no more experience than I did. He said it was the fact that I was coming from a different industry and the CEO had been burned by people leaving after experiencing the job. Despite their recommendations the "buck stops there".

This does not sit particularly well with me as I made it clear to everyone involved that was my situation. I was invited out to the evaluation with that knowledge. And according to the manager here was recommended for the job. The only explanation I have is that at age 39 I was too old for the job.

As a 39 year old white male, I know that I am not in a protected class. Do I have any kind of case here? I don't know if I have the time or resources to pursue it, but I'm looking for advice and suggestions.
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Re: Age Discrimination? [3sports1passion] [ In reply to ]
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You may not wind up receiving many offers of advice on this one, due to some of the professional responsibility issues attached. PM me and we can chat (not an attorney, but through law school and studied a lot in this area).

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Re: Age Discrimination? [3sports1passion] [ In reply to ]
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Tough story, but not that uncommon. As a 57-year old white male, I've been down this road. But your question was, "Do I have a case?". And my response is, "A case for what?". What would you want to achieve if you did, in fact, have an age discrimination case? Would you want to force the issue and get this job, and if you were successful in forcing this company to hire you, do you think you'd be happy? Certainly the taint would stunt any possible chance of advancement, I can guarantee that. Or are you seeking to punish the CEO or company for being knuckleheads? And if you were successful in punishing them by outing them for an age discrimination indiscretion, would you be proud to tell all your friends about that? You probably wouldn't work for this company for the rest of your career, so think about the next company you interview with and telling them this story. No doubt, that would scare them away in a hurry. What I'm really getting at is that you should look deeply into your motivation and what you truly want to achieve here. You know what you did, and you know what they did. Forcing them to publicly acknowledge what they did will not change the facts nor the outcome. Better to take the high road and learn from it. Make your next company better than that. Let it go, keep your head high, and keep plugging. Kinda like hard times during an IM race, eh? You got dealt a bad card, but don't let it ruin your hand....
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Re: Age Discrimination? [3sports1passion] [ In reply to ]
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The good news here is you're only 39! Fifteen years from now when you have age-ed up to my group you will no doubt be saving your anger/angst/energy for your next Triathlon. I see staying out of litigation and signed up for an IM as a win-win. C'mon Grasshopper...treat this like a flat tire during a Tri and maybe you don't have a spare CO2 cartridge but you don't let it rattle your cage. I'm sure that you will find a better job and would'nt be surprised if you write in to this forum thanking the heavens for not taking that job in question. Sounds like you had alot of time invested in interviewing, etc...take home message...spend even more time looking for other avenues of employment. My attitude towards job searching is: if your company didn't hire me your HR people really Fd up...yours should be the same. Nobody likes to get rejected but I see getting rejected by a company Hell-bent on hiring only youngsters as proof you don't belong there even though I would consider you a youngster (um, Oakley sunglasses comes to mind). Do you really see this company being in business ten years from now based on a system of hiring puppy mill college level people with only academia for exprience? The fabric of America is made up of thousands of folk from all over the planet who bring many DIFFERENT ideas/experience to the table. I say a solid business or company incorporates those same principles for better or worse.

Now go eat one of those Hammer double caffeine gels and get back out there dammit.
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Re: Age Discrimination? [3sports1passion] [ In reply to ]
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3sports1passion wrote:
I have only had a little experience in the field...... The manager told me that should not be a problem since they had a good training program for new hires and suggested that I do some studying before initial contact with the main office.

I am no attorney, and I don't play one on TV, but I have taken the above excerpts from your original post. Working for a huge company and being a engineer for sales I know that you have no case based on your post here. They will easily point to the above and be correct.
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Re: Age Discrimination? [3sports1passion] [ In reply to ]
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Asking one's age is a not allowed up here. I got the reverse end of it based on my youthful appearance before my current job many times. Now I like it at 34 as people think I'm 25-27.

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Re: Age Discrimination? [Kscycler] [ In reply to ]
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Kscycler wrote:
Tough story, but not that uncommon. As a 57-year old white male, I've been down this road. But your question was, "Do I have a case?". And my response is, "A case for what?". What would you want to achieve if you did, in fact, have an age discrimination case? Would you want to force the issue and get this job, and if you were successful in forcing this company to hire you, do you think you'd be happy? Certainly the taint would stunt any possible chance of advancement, I can guarantee that. Or are you seeking to punish the CEO or company for being knuckleheads? And if you were successful in punishing them by outing them for an age discrimination indiscretion, would you be proud to tell all your friends about that? You probably wouldn't work for this company for the rest of your career, so think about the next company you interview with and telling them this story. No doubt, that would scare them away in a hurry. What I'm really getting at is that you should look deeply into your motivation and what you truly want to achieve here. You know what you did, and you know what they did. Forcing them to publicly acknowledge what they did will not change the facts nor the outcome. Better to take the high road and learn from it. Make your next company better than that. Let it go, keep your head high, and keep plugging. Kinda like hard times during an IM race, eh? You got dealt a bad card, but don't let it ruin your hand....
+1.
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Re: Age Discrimination? [3sports1passion] [ In reply to ]
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This is going to sound weird, but I believe AD is legal if you're under the age of 40. I think it's a loophole in the law that allows the employer to discriminate against prospects that don't have enough life experience, but it can and does work in reverse.



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Re: Age Discrimination? [Hounddog] [ In reply to ]
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I work in HR so I'd take your wifes advice first and foremost.

There are two issues. One is can they do what they did, which is a technical question but even if the answer comes back after looking at all the facts it still leaves the so what question unanswered, what is it you are after, guess that depends on what recourse you are after. The second issue is why not just consider it a lucky break that you didn't end up working for them as it sounds like if thats how they act and treat people its so far from what you would see as fitting your own values that you wouldn't have been happy.
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