Can a company require you to answer your age on an application?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a company require you to answer your age on an application?

I’ve tried applying to a company and they ask for my date of birth directly on the application and won’t let me proceed unless it’s answered.

Asked on November 13, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It is not illegal, though it can be unwise. The law does not make it illegal to ask about an employee's age or know his/her age; it makes it illegal to discriminate against someone age 40 or older because of their age. As long as there is no discrimination, age-related questions are legal; but they are unwise because if someone 40 or older is asked about their age, then denied a job, he or she may bring a legal claim alleging that the denial was age-based. It is safer and smarter for the employer to not inquire into age, since that makes showing age discrimination more difficult.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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