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Interview – date of birth question


Is an employer permitted to ask my age after interviews, but before offering post? I have been asked my date of birth at the stage of final shortlisting of two candidates. I was told it was part of equal opportunities, but if they are not permitted to ask on application form, but can ask on equal opportunities form,.

My husband seems sure they can do this, as with ethnic origins - but I think this is would make the law about not asking date of birth on form is a farce.

There was no apploication form in this case - and he has met me in person, so knows roughly what my age might be.

I feel I may have put my chances in jeopady, as when he said he thought he could ask it, I said I did not think that was correct.

But if he does not wish to hire me now - how will I know if it is because of my age or not - I did eventually give him my d.o.b.

If anyone knows the accurate and legal answer to this rather grey area I would appreciate the benefit of your knowledge.

Many thanks.
Kathleen Miller

7 Responses

  1. Asking for a person’s age
    It isn’t unlawful to ask for a person’s age on an application form or during the recruitment process. What is unlawful is to discriminate against someone based on their age (Employment (Age) Regulations, 2006), unless it can be shown that such discrimination is objectively justified. The reason for asking age should be given, e.g., to demonstrate equal opportunities, to meet requirements in relation to employing young persons, or to verify identity in company records when there are same name employees. However, giving such information is voluntary. I can’t see anything unlawful in the situation you describe, although it could have been handled better.

  2. d.o.b issue
    Many thanks for your reply, I did find information on the subject that matched what you have said.

    On a good note, I got the job, and he knows my age!

  3. Congratulations!
    Pleased to hear that you got the job. Good luck!

    There are some misunderstandings regarding the new regulations. I have recently dealt with a complaint from an NHS manager regarding our application form for training. One of the complaints was about requesting applicants’ date of birth. The manager complained that “As I am sure you are aware since October 2006, this information is not even permitted on a job application form, let alone one for a single study day!” This isn’t the case; the regulations do not ban requests for date of birth, only discrimination on the grounds of age.

  4. Thanks!
    Thank you for the congratulations!

    Re: This isn’t the case; the regulations do not ban requests for date of birth, only discrimination on the grounds of age.

    I find this rather surprising, as I had also understood that this information is not permitted on an application form. Proving discrimination on grounds of age would be pretty hard, as prospective employers could use any other reason thus not incriminating themselves!

    Thanks again for this information.

  5. He tell da truth
    Re: This isn’t the case; the regulations do not ban requests for date of birth, only discrimination on the grounds of age.

    Eddie is correct and the information he is telling you is accurate. It is the rumours that are inaccurate.
    Its fine to put DOB on application forms however its unwise since as an employer you may open yourself up to allegations of discrimination all too easily.

  6. Juliet is right
    There is no prohibition against asking for dob but there is a prohibition against age related discrimination.

    Equal ops forms are usually kept seperate from the recruitment process and are used to show that applicants fairly represent the communities of applicants. They are not used to make hiring decisions on.

  7. Nik Kellingley is mostly correct
    Employment cannot be denied on the grounds of age except where discrimination can be objectively justified. For example, there are minimum and maximum ages for recruitment into the armed services.


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