Bill would prevent Colorado job applications from asking about age3 min read
A new bill advancing through the Colorado legislature would close what the AARP calls a “loophole” in state discrimination law by banning employers from asking for information that could reveal an applicant’s age.
In addition to being prohibited from explicitly asking about age, the Job Application Fairness Act — officially labeled SB23-058 — would also bar employers from requesting other dates on applications, like when someone attended or graduated from high school or college. It builds on existing federal law, which prohibits discrimination based on a person’s age, and further limits the ways employers can puzzle out those details.
Those limitations apply during a job-seeker’s initial application process, bill sponsor and Wheat Ridge Democrat Sen. Jessie Danielson told fellow lawmakers Thursday. The bill wouldn’t bar employers from verifying that applicants have necessary certifications or background, she said, nor would it open the door for juvenile Coloradans to apply for jobs outside their age range.
But it would protect older residents from discrimination, she said.
“I believe, in the state legislature, that we owe it to older people in the state — the elder members of our community who built this place for us — to do our jobs to protect them and ensure that they have a life of independence and well-being,” Danielson said, “and part of that is a good-paying job, a reliable job, a source of income that provides them with that independence that they so deserve.”
According to a national AARP survey from December 2020, nearly 80% of older workers reported seeing or experiencing age discrimination in the workplace. Another national survey from 2018 found that 44% of older adults who’d applied or been interviewed for a job were asked about their age. That, coupled with Colorado’s aging population and supporters’ concerns about older residents’ economic stability, forms the impetus for the measure.
The bill, which was introduced in January, advanced Thursday through the Senate’s Business, Labor and Technology Committee on a party-line vote, with the committee’s six Democrats — including Danielson — voting to move it forward.
Republican members of the committee expressed concern about the government intervening in employers’ hiring practices.
“I think this is a worthy conversation for us as employers but not a worthy thing to impose what we would do on private industry,” said Sen. Mark Baisley, a Woodland Park Republican. ” … I know there’s feelings of, ‘Oh gee, I was discriminated against,’ but we could hear those stories all day long about color of skin, color of hair, how somebody’s physical appearance is. … We can’t keep doing this and regulating people into particular behaviors.”
As far as the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce is concerned, the bill is an example of “legislators finding a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist,” said Adam Burg, the group’s vice president of government affairs.
Employers are looking to hire anybody they can right now, he said. He quoted a stat mentioned by Gov. Jared Polis during his State of the State address, that there are two open jobs for every unemployed resident in the state.
The AARP disagreed that age discrimination in hiring isn’t an issue, said spokeswoman Angela Cortez. She called it “disappointing” that anyone would suggest otherwise.
“Maybe there’s two jobs for every one person who is 50 and younger,” she said. “But that doesn’t seem to be the case for those who are 50 and older.”
Stay up-to-date with Colorado Politics by signing up for our weekly newsletter, The Spot.
Source: Read Full Article