As a manager am I legally allowed to ask the question, “Why aren’t you earning more at your age?” during a job interview?

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As a manager am I legally allowed to ask the question, “Why aren’t you earning more at your age?” during a job interview?

It was brought to my attention that this may be a discriminatory question to ask.

Asked on May 5, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Any age-related questions may be discriminatory. Federal law, as well as the law of many states (such as your own) make it illegal to discriminate against an employee or prospective employee because they are--or the employer believes they are--more than 40 years old. If you inquire into someone's age and they don't get the job, if they feel they were qualified, they may try to sue you for age-related discrimination. Even if you ultimately win (can show there was some non-age reason for the choice not hire), you'll still have the cost and trouble of a lawsuit. It is best to simply never discuss age, even indirectly.


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