Question: I was being interviewed for a job position and, as the discussion progressed, the interviewer asked me how old I was. I'm over 40. Isn't this an EEO violation?
Answer: Asking an applicant's age is not in itself a violation of any EEO law, butit may lead to discrimination and it leaves the employer vulnerable because of having brought it up in the interview process. If this question were asked by an employer and the applicant was not selected for the position and an applicant who was younger and had less experience was selected, there might be grounds for a charge of discrimination. I say "might" as a couple of requirement must be met: the applicant must be over 40 years old, and the employer must employ 20 or more employees who worked for the company at least 20 weeks in the current or last year, in order to be covered by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
You will also not that I said "grounds for a charge." That doesn't mean that discrimination actualy occurred. However, if a charge of discrimination is filed, then the employer must convince the EEOC that the reasons for not hiring the over 40 applicant were work-related and non discriminatory.
In most cases, it is not the asking of the question that is illegal, but the discrimination that takes place as a result of it.
Both employees and employers shoul always be aware of what can and cannot be discussed in a interview for a job position.