Marymount Manhattan College is being sued for age discrimination by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In searching for a new assistant professor in the dance composition department, the pool was narrowed to three candidates with one 64-year-old instructor in the lead. The committee then expanded the pool to include another, less qualified candidate who was 37 years old. They said they did this because the new candidate was “at the right moment of her life for a commitment to a full-time position.” Eventually the tenure track position went to the 37 year old candidate. The EEOC is alleging that the hiring decision was made based on age, which is illegal.
The only thing that a prospective employer should be worried about is your ability to do the job. The EEOC exists to protect you from being discriminated against for reasons like race, disability, sex or age. As more and more workers are choosing to stay on the job for longer, it is important that you be evaluated only on the quality of your performance, not on some perception of your age (and how that affects your ability to do your job.) It can be intimidating to stand up for your rights. The best way to prepare is to arm yourself with knowledge. The more you know about how employment laws apply to you, the more you will be able to protect your own rights. Study up, and if you need to, call an experienced Seattle employment attorney so you don’t have to go through it alone.