Lewiston man not denied job at Auburn brick company because he was too old, commission finds

Posted Feb. 08, 2013, at 6:21 a.m.

LEWISTON, Maine — 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.

 

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