Company can’t ask for ‘inexperienced’ job applicants

A medical device company in Illinois posted an ad for a job in its legal department, saying it would only consider candidates who had no more than seven years of relevant legal experience.

It got a resume from 59-year-old Dale Kleber, who had previously served as general counsel of a Fortune 500 company, CEO of a national trade organization, and interim CEO of a different medical device business. The company didn’t even give Kleber an interview, and hired a 29-year-old instead.

Kleber sued for age discrimination, arguing that the company’s cap on candidates’ experience was an illegal attempt to weed out older workers.

The result? A federal judge allowed the case to go forward. The judge said it wasn’t age discrimination to refuse to interview an overqualified applicant, but a jury should be able to decide whether the company’s cap on years of experience was an attempt to avoid older candidates in general.