Age Is Just A Mom-ber

, , , , , , | Working | November 29, 2019

(The company I work for hires a lot of high-school-age employees. Due to federal and state labor laws, we have a very limited number of positions to offer to candidates who are 15 or younger — all of which are currently filled — but can employ any number of young people at least 16 years old. I am calling one of our candidates over the phone. It is currently 2019.)

Me: “Hi, this is [My Name] from [Company]. Can I speak to [Candidate], please?”

Candidate: “This is [Candidate].”

Me: “Hi. I’m just calling about your recent application with us. On your application, you stated that you are at least 16 years old. Is that correct?”

Candidate: “Yes, I’m 16.”

Me: “Okay. Because on the documentation you brought us with your birthdate, it states here that you were born in 2004. Is that right?”

Candidate: “Yes, that’s right.”

Me: *sighing inwardly* “Oh, I see. Well, if you were born in 2004, and considering that it’s currently 2019, that would mean that you’re only 15 years old.”

Candidate: “Oh.”

Me: “Right. So, if that’s true, then I’m very sorry to say that we don’t have any positions at this time that we can offer to a 15-year-old, due to labor laws. However, if something does open up, we’ll keep your application on file. Otherwise, I hope you’ll consider reapplying when you turn 16 next year.”

Candidate: *sounding confused and disappointed* “Okay. Thanks.”

(I end the call, thinking that’s the end of it. Fifteen minutes later, I am asked to take another call. It is the candidate’s mother.)

Me: “This is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Candidate’s Mother: “I’m [Candidate]’s mother! Why did you tell my son that he can’t work there?!”

Me: “Ma’am, as I explained to him, we don’t currently have any positions available for 15-year-olds.”

Candidate’s Mother: “My son is 16! I brought in his birth certificate to prove it! Are you calling him a liar?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. I looked at the birth certificate that he provided us. It states that he was born in 2004, right?”

Candidate’s Mother: “Yes, that’s right! So he’s 16!”

Me: *a bit baffled* “Ma’am, it is only 2019 right now. If he was born in 2004, that would make him 15.”

Candidate’s Mother: “No, he just had a birthday recently!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, I can see that his birthday was last month, but that would mean that he only just turned 15.”

Candidate’s Mother: “No, he just turned 17!”

Me: *torn between speechlessness and hilarity* “Please hold on a moment, ma’am.”

(I was forced to put her on hold, rather than lose my composure at the nature of the conversation. It took me several minutes to compose myself, but by then, she had hung up rather than wait on hold. I can only hope that she realized her mistake, but I can’t help but feel bad for the young man who didn’t realize his actual age.)

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