Connecticut Limits Inquiries into Prospective Employees’ Ages

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On June 24, 2021, Governor Lamont signed into law Public Act 21-69, which adds to Connecticut’s Fair Employment Practices Act an explicit ban on Connecticut employers inquiring into the ages of prospective employees “on an initial employment application.”  The new law, An Act Deterring Age Discrimination in Employment Applications, goes into effect on October 1, 2021.

Restrictions on Employers

Under the new law, Connecticut employers may not request or require prospective employees to provide the following information on an initial employment application:

  • their ages;
  • dates of birth; or
  • dates of attendance at or graduation from an educational institution.

Exceptions

Employers may request or require information related to an applicant’s age if that information is based on a bona fide occupational qualification or need, or if the employer needs the information to comply with applicable state or federal laws.

What This Means for Employers

As a result of P.A. 21-69, employers should review their current job application forms and processes to ensure that they do not request or require job applicants to provide their ages, dates of birth, or dates of attendance or graduation from an educational institution.  Employers also should verify that no other documents calling for this information are required of applicants with the initial employment application.

Employers should review any of their jobs for which age-related information is elicited to determine if there are applicable state or federal laws requiring them to collect age-identifying information or if there is a bona fide occupational qualification or need that justifies collecting this information. If that review indicates the employer may have a specific, justifiable need for the information, the employer should discuss the specific facts and circumstances with their legal counsel.  If age-identifying information is needed to comply with state or federal law, or for another occupational qualification or need, those factors should be documented with Human Resources to support the presence of such questions on the initial application, in the event of a challenge. 

In addition, since the new law is limited to information that is requested or required on an initial employment application, in certain circumstances age-identifying inquiries may be permissible for legitimate business reasons at a later stage in the hiring process.  Employers should exercise caution, however, in eliciting information about age or any other protected characteristic and should do so only if the information is needed for legitimate non-discriminatory reasons and is not used as an impermissible factor in the hiring decision. 

Finally, employers should ensure that employees engaged in the hiring process are educated about the new inquiry limitations.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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