Date of birth question on job application form

Discussion in 'Work, Careers, Employment rights, further study' started by olivia, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. olivia

    olivia Frequent Poster

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    I am just completing a job applcation form which asks me for my DOB. Is this illegal? What should I do assuming I would like to get the job?
     
  2. TDON

    TDON Frequent Poster

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    Re: Date of birth question on job applcation form

    I don't believe it's illegal. You are asked for your DOB on everything now.

    I assume it is Ageism you are worried about, because I cannot at the moment, think of any other scenario, why you are afraid to give it to them. So, if there is another reason why you don't want to give it to them, can you elaborate please?
     
  3. ClubMan

    ClubMan Frequent Poster

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    Why do you think that this might be illegal!? :confused:

    Post crossed with TDON's.
     
  4. MsGinger

    MsGinger Frequent Poster

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    I can understand the OP's concern. I have worked in places in the past, where CV's have been discarded because of a person's age. I have also worked in places where women of a certain age would not be considered due to the fact that they might be thinking of having children. These people haven't even reached interview stage.

    I believe that it's a question you are not allowed to ask in interview as long as it has no bearing on the job, so why should it be any different in application forms?
     
  5. olivia

    olivia Frequent Poster

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    I belive it may be illegal as it contravenes employment equality legislation - it is the same as asking nationality.
     
  6. ClubMan

    ClubMan Frequent Poster

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    Any chance you could cite/link to some info supporting this claim? I can't see anything obvious here:

    www.citizensinformation.ie
    www.employmentrights.ie
    www.equality.ie

    Discrimination based on age, nationality etc. is one thing. Asking questions about these is another as far as I know.

    Also at least some age discrimination is allowed...
     
  7. beautfan

    beautfan Frequent Poster

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    I suppose he's referring to the Employment Equality Act. It is illegal if it can be proved that an employer is using it for shortlisting purposes for example. If a claim is made by an individual the employer must prove that discrimination did not occur.

    There is nothing in the legislation to say that it cannot be asked on an application form but it is not considered 'best practice'.
     
  8. ClubMan

    ClubMan Frequent Poster

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    How does one prove a negative!!?!? :confused:
     
  9. Staples

    Staples Frequent Poster

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    I agree. The employer is leaving him/herself a bit exposed here.

    If a person didn't get a job, they could argue that it was on age grounds. While this might seem spurious, similar cases have been taken successfully in the past.

    If the age of an applicant isn't an issue, then it shouldn't be sought. If it is an issue, it's reasonable to ask why.
     
  10. NiallP

    NiallP Frequent Poster

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    It is not illegal to ask for someone's DOB on an application form - it is illegal to discriminate against them on the basis of the information provided.

    In certain circumstances it may be absolutely necessary to establish someone's age - for example to ensure that there is no contravention of the protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996.

    In general, it would not conform with best practice for the DOB to be requested upon application. Bar the situation outlined above, it is difficult to justify - and, particularly, it would be difficult for an employer to establish that it was required information in the context of defending an age discrimination claim.

    Thus, whilst it is not illegal, it is also not advisable.

    Olivia, I would recommend that you fill it in honestly. If you feel there is any suggestion that you subsequently miss out on the job due to your age, you might consider bringing an age discrimination claim under the Employment Equality Acts- for which you may be awarded a maximum of 12,700Euro (as you are not an employee).
     
  11. purpeller

    purpeller Frequent Poster

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    On the civil service application forms, you are asked all sorts of questions that could be construed as discriminatory if you were looking for it (and did not get an interview). Age, race, ethnicity, even sexuality!
     
  12. snuffle

    snuffle Frequent Poster

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    Was wondering this myself recently as an application form asked you for your age. I know it's easy enough to infer roughly what age you are (from dates of exams, length of time working, etc) but to blatently ask for your age I thought a bit odd personally. Also most application forms I've ever seen always tend to ask your nationality also.
     
  13. beautfan

    beautfan Frequent Poster

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    Nationally can be asked as you are obliged to source EEA candiates before non-EEA.

    Clubman - I don't understand your question..
     
  14. ClubMan

    ClubMan Frequent Poster

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    OK - the answer is that you can't.
     
  15. ang1170

    ang1170 Frequent Poster

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    By that logic, if they asked whether you're male or female, they'd be leaving themselves open......
     
  16. RainyDay

    RainyDay Frequent Poster

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    I don't have anything to add to the answers already given, particularly the good answer from Niall P

    You have two options. The 'keep your head down' option would suggest that you fill in the DOB and say nowt.

    However, that's not the only option. Certain organisations and/or individuals may genuinely appreciate getting advice which points out their potential exposure. It could well be that the only reason for having the DOB on the form is 'because we've always done it that way'. You could try politely summarising the advice given on the thread in a cover letter with your application. It's a high-risk option, but depending on the corporate culture and the individual concerned, it just might work. It will certainly ensure that your application stands out from the crowd.

    Do you believe that age discrimination is a real possibility in this case?
     
  17. Staples

    Staples Frequent Poster

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    Yes, wide open. There are very few jobs that are gender specific so unless you're advertising one, there's no reason to ask.

    I heard of a case where an obviously pregnant woman presented for interview. The interviewer, whom she knew, congratulated her. The woman didn't get the job but subsequently took a successful equality case on the grounds that as her pregnancy was commented on at the interview, she was effectively discriminated against on grounds of gender.
     
  18. John Rambo

    John Rambo Frequent Poster

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    That sounds like a serious case of the world gone mad...two people present for a job. One will be available to do the job, the other will not as she'll be on maternity leave but a potential employer can't make a decision based on these facts?
     
  19. Staples

    Staples Frequent Poster

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    The point is that the pregnancy was commented upon at the interview and so became part of the process through which the selection was made. It introduced the possibility of bias.

    Had the pregnancy not been referred to, it would have been difficult to contend that it in any way had an impact on the interviewer's ultimate decision.
     
  20. csirl

    csirl Frequent Poster

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    I done some interviewing in my time. I dont think its illegal to ask DOB on forms. However, frequently the photocopies of CV/forms given to those conducting the interviews to have the DOB blacked out so as to guard against ageism claims. I'm not sure how effective this is though, as age can usually be determined by looking at education & work history e.g. person probably did leaving cert between ages of 17 & 19.