CHARLOTTE, NC—Despite the low unemployment rate and an overall high demand for talent, older professionals often still have trouble finding employment. A contributing factor to these difficulties can include unlawful age discrimination.

Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Richard Rainey discussed employers’ legal obligations to older job-seekers with HR Daily Advisor.

“Most employers understand that you should not ask for a candidate’s age on an application or in a job interview. However, employers should also avoid questions or comments that could be interpreted as age being a factor in the hiring process,” Rainey said. “For example, comments like ‘we are looking for fresh energy’ or ‘we need new thinking’ could be interpreted by some as a preference for younger workers. Likewise, job advertisements seeking ‘recent college graduates’ can be pointed to as signs of alleged discrimination.”

If a company chooses to hire a younger candidate over an older one, employers should be prepared to justify why that decision was made, Rainey told HR Daily Advisor.

Click here to read “Jobseekers’ Market? Maybe Not for Professionals Over 50” in HR Daily Advisor.

Richard Rainey is a labor and employment attorney with extensive experience litigating employment disputes on behalf of employers in the courtroom and before administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board and the U.S. and N.C. Department of Labor. His litigation practice also includes actions involving covenants not to compete, theft of trade secrets, unfair competition, employee raiding, fair housing and equal credit.