Employers Beware: Age does not matter, unless you’re getting cheese

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In the Philippines, it is now illegal to hire employees based on age. Long gone are the days when you will see an advertisement: “Wanted Secretary, 18-34 years old” or “Wanted driver, between 25-40 years old”.

The practice of employers selecting employees because of age, or placing an age limitation as a qualification for employment, has been outlawed. It is now a criminal act, subject to a fine from Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) to Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00), and/or imprisonment from three (3) months to two (2) years.

By virtue of a house bill that lapsed into law during the latter part of August 2016, employers can no longer print or publish, in any form of media, any notice of advertisement relating to employment suggesting preferences, limitations, and discrimination based on age.

This law is Republic Act No. 10911, otherwise known as the “Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Act”. It is an act prohibiting discrimination against any individual in employment on account of age and providing penalties therefor.

Because of Republic Act No. 10911, it has likewise become illegal in the Philippines for an employer to require an applicant to disclose his or her age during the application process, refuse an applicant solely because of how old the person is, give preferential salaries or treatment to younger employees, deny training, lay-off an employee or worker due to old age, or impose early retirement to employees upon reaching a certain age.

The law does not only cover employers. Publishers of such notices and advertisements relating to employment suggesting preferences, limitations, specifications, and discrimination, are also liable under this law.

It also covers labor contractors or subcontractors who refuse to hire a person because of his or her age. The law further prohibits labor organizations from excluding from union membership any person on account of age.

Of course, there are instances when these acts are allowed under the law. Republic Act No. 10911 placed exempting circumstances when age limitations may be lawfully applied. Where age is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary in the normal operation of a business, where there is differentiation based on reasonable factors other than age, when this is in observance of a bona fide seniority system, employee retirement, or voluntary early retirement plan in the company, or where allowed by the Secretary of Labor, limitations or preferences in age may be applied.

The owner of a boxing gym, for example, may be justified in refusing to hire a 75 year old applicant, applying as a boxing trainer or weight trainer. Similarly, a sexagenarian (someone who is between 60-69 years of age), cannot cry foul, when he or she is forced to retire, when the forced retirement is pursuant to an honest-to-goodness retirement plan covering all employees, to be effected upon reaching a certain age.


Nicolas & De Vega Law Offices is a full service law firm in the Philippines. You may visit us at the 16th Flr., Suite 1607 AIC Burgundy Empire Tower, ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, 1605 Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines. You may also call us at +632 4706126, +632 4706130, +632 4016392.


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