Is this ageism?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is this ageism?

I am seeking a job and signed up for a devpost service. I received an email
about a month later stating that the service is only available to junior level
programmers – ie young programmers. Could a case be made for ageism?

Asked on April 16, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You are not quite correct: people 40 and over are protected from employment discrimination due to age, but no one else is, so unless you are 40 or older, there is not possible age discrimination claim. Furthermore, the employer can define the level of experience they seek for a job and not hire "over-qualified" employees--that is perfectly legal (and actually quite common: there is a legimitimate, and accepted by the law, concern that over-experienced staff will be bored and not motivated, or are not interested in the job other than as a stop-gap and will leave at the first opportunity). You would have to show that any statements or claims about experience are pretextual and this is really age discrimination, not a legitimate definition of what/who they are seeking for the job, to make out a viable employment discrimination claim, even if you are over 40.

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