Reasons For Asking About Age
According to law, an employer may not ask a potential employee certain direct questions concerning age. While most companies try and gauge the age of the applicant through other means, no applicant may receive judgment directly for a position solely on inherent age. In addition, no employer may ask for proof of age until after hire. Only then may an employer inquire about age, with the employee furnishing some sort of documentation providing how old the new employee stands. On applications and other hiring documents, companies may ask the questions, “If hired, can you furnish proof of age?” and “Are you 18 years of age?” Employers may ask the interview questions in order to establish the need for age compliance for particular jobs, as most employment in the United States without a work permit requires candidates to stand at least 18 years of age.
Providing Proof of Age
Once hired, an employer may wish to keep on file a document proving eligibility to work. Commonly used records may include a birth certificate, driver license or photo identification, military identification, valid passport, United States Citizenship and Immigration documentation, a marriage license, federal census records, and adoption decrees. Another reason a company may wish for a potential employee to provide age eligibility commonly occurs with hazardous work. While the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime, and proper record keeping, the law also must comply with child labor and safety. Proper documentation of age may prove a company hire fits the guidelines of the FLSA appropriately and a hazardous job remains occupied by an employee both capable and of suitable age.
Honesty is the Best Policy
Honesty remains of utmost importance to both the interviewer and the aspirant applying for the position. Aside from the need to assure that applicants fit the hiring needs and age requirements for certain potentially hazardous employment, companies need applicants to provide authentic answers in order to maintain trust throughout employment. The inability to provide authentication of age after hire more than likely will cause the candidate to lose the job, as proper age documentation remains required by law in most industries. Potential employers may presume an interviewee as hiding information or sidestepping particular questions as red flags; employers may then believe job seekers are working illegally in some capacity. After hire, providing the correct information typically alleviates such fears.