Proposed legislation addressing age discrimination in the workplace has the support of the business community and state legislators from both sides of the aisle.

State Sen. Derek Slap (D-West Hartford) will introduce the bill, which prevents employers requiring job candidates to share their age, birth date, or graduation year on employment applications, this legislative session.

CBIA's Eric Gjede at the Jan. 16 press conference.
CBIA's Eric Gjede (center) pictured with state legislators and advocates at the Jan. 16 press conference.

"This bill will help close a very costly loophole for older workers in Connecticut who disproportionately face under-employment and unemployment," Slap said at a Jan. 16 press conference.

"No one should be vetted for a job based solely on their age. This bill will make our economy fairer and stronger."

Slap, who chairs the legislature's Aging Committee, said the bill would not prohibit employers from inquiring about age if it's deemed a bona fide job qualification.

Slap noted that with 436,000 workers in their mid-50s, Connecticut has the sixth-oldest workforce in the nation.

In 2008, roughly 20% of Connecticut workers were over the age of 54. Today, it's 27% with the healthcare, manufacturing, educational services, and retail trade industries employing the most workers over 54.

Slap said the bill will mirror a similar bill he introduced last year with the support of 36 fellow lawmakers.

The Labor and Public Employees Committee passed the bill last year but it was not called for a vote in the state House.

Business Support

CBIA's Eric Gjede said the business community supports the bill, as do representatives from the AARP and the Seniors Jobs Bank.

"We think this policy makes good sense and helps codify existing best practices that help prevent age-based discrimination," Gjede said.

He also praised Slap for building bipartisan support for the concept.

"He brought forward this idea and has made every effort to address and incorporate the ideas of not only Republican members of the Labor Committee like Sen. Craig Miner and Rep. David Rutigliano, but he also went above and beyond to reach out to representatives of the business community to solicit feedback and address their concerns," he said.

"Businesses are always willing to be partners with responsible lawmakers to find workable solutions that will make Connecticut an even better place to live, find a great job, and raise a family."

For more information, contact CBIA's Eric Gjede (860.480.1784) | @egjede.