An investigator for a state agency found that an Auburn manufacturing company discriminated against an East Dixfield man by requiring him to reveal his age on an employment form.

In January 2013, Allen Ackley applied for a job as a plant technician at Tambrands Inc., which manufactures and sells consumer hygiene products internationally. The company has a plant at Hotel Road in Auburn.

Ackley was 59 years old when he applied for the job. He submitted an online application, which required his high school graduation date. The Maine Human Rights Act prohibits such pre-employment inquiries because they can be used to infer the age of the applicant, according to Angela Tizon, an investigator for the Maine Human Rights Commission who filed a report in this case on Jan. 23.

Two months later, Ackley went to the plant for further testing. At the security office, he was required to show his driver’s license, which included his date of birth. His license was photocopied, he said.

When he went to the testing room, a worker made note of his license, including his date of birth, he said.

Ackley also was required to sign a form that would allow the company to run a background check on him if it were to offer him a job. That form asked for his date of birth.


Following an April 8 interview with a hiring panel, he was not offered the job. Ackley believes the company was wrong to require information about his age before he was hired, and he believes he was denied employment because of his age.

Following an investigation into Ackley’s complaint, Tizon concluded that the commission should issue findings at its Feb. 23 meeting that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that Ackley was discriminated against due to his age. But Tizon concluded the commission should find that there are reasonable grounds to believe Ackley was subjected to unlawful pre-hiring questions about his age and the company discriminated against him by doing so.

A lawyer for Tambrands told Tizon that Ackley wasn’t hired because he didn’t pass the interview portion of the hiring process.

Tambrands noted that among the 48 plant technicians hired during the same period Ackley applied for a job, were three workers, whose ages were 53, 58 and 68.

The company’s lawyer also noted that Ackley was invited to interview with the panel despite its knowledge of his approximate age.

In her report, Tizon wrote that the company’s lawyer said the dates of graduation required on the online application weren’t used to discriminate against Ackley because of his age, but added, “These dates were not intended to be used to determine the age of applicants,” and the company has since removed this request from its online application.

In her legal analysis, Tizon wrote, “The commission has published guidance which states that questions asking for an applicant’s age or date of birth prior to employment are unlawful.” Examples of such questions include requests for dates of graduation, she wrote.

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