Maine agency says Lewiston man not discrimination victim

A Lewiston man complained to a state agency that he was turned down for a job at an Auburn brick company because he was too old.

An agency investigator found no discrimination, but faulted the company for asking his age.

Ray E. Brown, 60, applied for a job at RJF Morin Brick LLC, a brick manufacturer in Auburn and Brewer.

In 2011, Brown was seeking a full-time position with the company as laborer or industrial maintenance mechanic. He was interviewed by phone, then in person in October 2011. The application had asked for his birth date. The company completed a background check.

Morin's plant manager told Brown the company was considering filling two nighttime maintenance positions. Brown, who was looking to supplement his retirement income, was qualified for the job. He was told he was one of the primary candidates they were considering hiring and that they would get back to him.

In response to Brown's complaint, the company said it didn't hire Brown because it had frozen all hiring since he applied. He was told the company would be in touch when it was hiring again.

Company officials also showed that it laid off 29 workers between Dec. 29, 2011, and Jan. 4, 2012, a month after Brown filed his complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission. Those who lost their jobs ranged in age from 19 to 62, the company said.

The average age of the company's 86 workers in 2010 was just over 35 years old. A year later, the average had risen by a year, the company showed.

The company also showed that since 2006 it had hired a half-dozen workers in their mid-to late-50s.

Barbara Lelli, chief investigator for Maine Human Rights Commission,  wrote in her report to the commissioners that the company used a job application form that violated the Maine Human Rights Act because it requires that applicants include their birth dates.

Lelli concluded that there weren't reasonable grounds to believe the company had discriminated against Brown on the basis of his age, because Morin apparently didn't later hire someone younger instead of Brown.

cwilliams@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Gail Labelle's picture

Older Workers

I do agree with Catherine on this subject and it is very clear to see someone's age on an application without stating it outright by their job history. With individiuals living longer one would think that an employer would welcome someone with a vast experience in the world of work. I read that Forbes rated The State of Maine as 4th on their list of states of 10 that people are leaving for a warmer climates, lower housing costs the list goes on!

So I guess I would ask an employer this question? Would you give older folks a second look, do not dismiss them because they have reached a certain age or have a certain health issue. Look at the positive side of a combination of all ages in a workforce which brings more talent and experience you would ever need!

Catherine Pressey's picture

Instead of Brown

It is known that if one looks at the employment history in the first place, with most Applications asking for complete work history. Does not take a rock scientist to guess how old a person is if your first job was in the late 50's or early 60's. I know of someone that was let go after almost five years of service, in the construction field. This was not long after the person was having a test, about some chest pain. The boss had spread it around that the person had a heart attack. Not true, during that season the boss/owner was saying that with the younger hires are lowering his insurance rates. Funny how that fall the person was laid off earlier than anyone else and told not to look to be called back in the spring. Minding that the younger men were kept on longer and called back in the spring. Heck the guy couldn't even get a phone call returned by the owner. Nor could perspective other companies get a call back. END OF STORY. We all know, the truth, but no way to prove a darn thing. And our country wants to raise the retirement age. Yes that is going to work out well.

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