Can I legally be denied a job because I refused to give my social security number during interview?

Full Question:

I am in the interview process for a position that requires a motor vehicle report. I've not been offered the position, and I would think this would be a form required after job offer, as is a consumer credit report. They want my date of birth and social security. I've been told never give this out in the interview process.
04/21/2009   |   Category: Employment   |   State: Washington   |   #16079

Answer:

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of age for individuals who are at least forty (40) years of age. However, there are legitimate circumstances in which a request for an applicant's date of birth is necessary, referred to as a bona fide occupational qualification. For example, if selling alcohol, a job applicant must meet age requirements. An applicant's date of birth is necessary during the employment screening process when requesting a criminal record search since most courts rely on the date of birth as a primary identifier. Therefore, a date of birth may be used to verify whether or not a particular criminal record belongs to that individual. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has indicated that a request for date of birth or age on an employment application "... is not, in itself, a violation of the Act." In a letter dated July 20, 1999, the EEOC suggested that an employer do the following to ensure compliance with the ADEA:

(i) Clearly identify the purpose for which date of birth information is to be used (such as for identification purposes)

(ii) Make known to the applicant that the information will not to be used to discriminate based on age).

(iii) Use a separate or tear-off sheet to record the date of birth so that it can be removed before the ultimate employment decision-maker sees the application.

Many employers use your SSN to seek information about you from employers, schools, banks, and others who know you. Your SSN may also be used in studies and computer matching with other government files, for example, files on unpaid student loans. Restrictions on use of SSNs typically apply to government agencies, rather than a private employer.

The folloiwing is a WA statute:

RCW 42.56.350 (1) The federal Social Security number of individuals
governed under....

(1) The federal Social Security number of individuals governed under
chapter 18.130 RCW maintained in the files of the department of health is
exempt from disclosure under this chapter. The exemption in this section
does not apply to requests made directly to the department from federal,
state, and local agencies of government, and national and state
licensing, credentialing, investigatory, disciplinary, and examination
organizations.

(2) The current residential address and current residential telephone
number of a health care provider governed under chapter 18.130 RCW
maintained in the files of the department are exempt from disclosure
under this chapter, if the provider requests that this information be
withheld from public inspection and copying, and provides to the
department of health an accurate alternate or business address and
business telephone number. The current residential address and
residential telephone number of a health care provider governed under RCW
18.130.040 maintained in the files of the department of health shall
automatically be withheld from public inspection and copying unless the
provider specifically requests the information be released, and except as
provided for under RCW 42.56.070(9).

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