HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — It may be the last form of open discrimination in our society: discrimination against older workers seeking a new job. One of the first bills State lawmakers will be debating next month is aimed at addressing age discrimination in hiring.

Connecticut has the 6th oldest workforce in the country. Almost half a million Connecticut workers are in their mid-50’s. Over 25% of those are over age 55. But when a person in this age bracket has to look for a new job, it can be a problem.

Bernie Weiss is with the Seniors Job Bank, connecting people age 50-plus with businesses.

Does he hear about discrimination against older workers?

“The unpleasant truth about that is that it’s not talked about. It’s just part of our culture, part of our society. We all know it’s there.”

– Bernie Weiss, Seniors Job Bank

Bernie joined State lawmakers from both political parties Thursday in launching a major effort to address it.

“We want to give our older workers a shot. We want to make it fairer for them and at least give them a chance once they get into the application process to get that interview and make a case for themselves.”

– Senator Derek Slapp, (D – West Hartford)

“It is a fundamental principle of mine, and others, and I’m sure everybody here, that our job is to remove barriers to opportunity in employment.”

– David Rutigliano (R-Trumbull) 

The proposal would change employment applications forever, making it illegal in Connecticut to include asking for a date of birth or school graduation dates, whether on written applications or on-line, as most applications are done now.

Thursday, the State’s largest business organization joined with the AARP and Republican and Democratic lawmakers in endorsing the proposal.

According to the AARP; the two fastest growing groups in the U.S. labor pool are people over age 75 and people age 65 to 74.