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Is Year of Graduation age discrimination?

July 17, 2011

Another question sent via email:
Years from medical School graduation: How important is this? I graduated in 2006 from Medical school so I am 5 years post graduation. But in this period I have completed 3 years internal medicine residency in India, and an MPH in the US. So will programs look at my entire application?

The programs of course should look at your application regardless of when or where you graduated from. There is nothing you can do about YOG. I don’t filter for YOG as many of our best applicants have training abroad or have PhDs that take years to achieve. You will see programs that display on their webpages year of graduation criteria. One can argue that using year of graduation is essentially age discrimination. Age discrimination in the US is illegal. Unfortunately the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 applies to those over the age of 40 years with employers in the United States. As Year of Graduation is an indirect estimate of ones age, it might be difficult to prove age discrimination based on YOG. In addition, most IMGs are not citizens or green card holders and on a temporary employment contract (3 year residency). As such I don’t know how far the Employment Act applies. Is a 42-year-old applicant in need of a visa covered under the Employment Act?

Below is the text of the The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967

PROHIBITION OF AGE DISCRIMINATION
SEC. 623. [Section 4]

(a) Employer practices

It shall be unlawful for an employer-

(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s age;

(2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s age; or

(3) to reduce the wage rate of any employee in order to comply with this chapter.

(b) It shall be unlawful for an employment agency to fail or refuse to refer for employment, or other­wise to discriminate against, any individual because of such individual’s age, or to classify or refer for employment any individual on the basis of such individual’s age.

It shall be unlawful for an employer to discriminate against any of his employees or applicants for employment, for an employment agency to discriminate against any individual, or for a labor organization to discriminate against any member thereof or applicant for membership, because such individual, member or applicant for membership has opposed any practice made unlawful by this section, or because such individual, member or applicant for membership has made a charge, tes­ti­fied, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under this chapter.

(c) Printing or publication of notice or advertisement indicating preference, limitation, etc.

It shall be unlawful for an employer, labor organization, or employment agency to print or publish, or cause to be printed or published, any notice or advertisement relating to employment by such an employer or membership in or any classification or referral for employment by such a labor organi­zation, or relating to any classification or referral for employment by such an employment agency, indicating any preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination, based on age.

(d) Lawful practices; age an occupational qualification; other reasonable factors; laws of foreign workplace; seniority system; employee benefit plans; discharge or discipline for good cause

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