WEST HARTFORD — A local senior citizens advisory group has endorsed a bipartisan bill proposed by state Sen. Derek Slap (D-West Hartford) that would help prevent age discrimination in the hiring process by prohibiting employers from asking the age, date of birth, or graduation dates of job applicants, unless a particular age is a bona fide occupational qualification said an email from the group.
The West Hartford Senior Citizens Advisory Commission voted to endorse the bill at its meeting last week. The nine-member Commission studies the conditions and needs of elderly and retired persons in West Hartford with regard to housing, employment, health, recreation, and their general welfare and comfort, and it analyzes public and private services provided for the aged and retired.
“A substantial number of our seniors need part-time, or even full-time, employment. This bill should help them overcome possible age-related bias,” said Phillip S. Walker, chairman of the West Hartford Senior Citizens Advisory Commission.
Sen. Slap’s bill has already been endorsed by the CT AARP, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, and by the West Hartford-based Seniors Job Bank, a non-profit community organization which for 40 years has connected men and women over 50 seeking work to businesses and households with work to be done.
“While no legislation can by itself change the way people think, laws can influence what they do. Enacting this bill will remove an obstacle from an early stage of the hiring process,” said Seniors Job Bank Vice-President Bernie Weiss.
With 436,000 workers in their mid-50s, Connecticut has the 6th-oldest workforce in the nation. A 2018 AARP survey found about 60 percent of older workers have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace, and 76 percent of them see age discrimination as a hurdle to finding a new job
“This bill will help close a very costly loophole for older workers in Connecticut who disproportionately face under-employment and unemployment,” said Sen. Slap. “No one should be vetted for a job based solely on their age. This bill has received very strong bipartisan support very early this year, and I hope it can become one of the first legislative success stories of 2020. It will make our economy fairer and stronger for everyone.”