Is it illegal to ask for an applicant's birth date on an application form?

Author: Melanie J. Perez-Vellios

An applicant's age is rarely relevant to the necessary function of most jobs. As a result, questions regarding a job applicant's age or date of birth are generally improper and should be avoided. Federal law prohibits discrimination against individuals age 40 and older. An employer that requests information about an applicant's age or date of birth could open itself up to future litigation under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) if the applicant believes he or she was discriminated against and uses the inquiry as evidence of age discrimination.