The South Carolina Human Affairs Law prohibits all public employers and private employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against applicants or employees on the basis of age (SC Code Sec. 1-13-10 et seq.). The law applies to applicants or employees who are at least 40 years of age. Under the law, it is an unlawful employment practice to:
• Refuse to hire, discharge, or otherwise discriminate with respect to an individual's compensation or terms and conditions of employment on the basis of age.
• Limit, segregate, or classify employees or applicants on the basis of age in a way that deprives or tends to deprive them of employment opportunities, or otherwise adversely affects their employment status.
• Reduce the wage rate of an employee in order to comply with the provisions of the law relating to age.
• Retaliate against any individual who has opposed an unlawful employment practice, made a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under the state law.
• Publish an advertisement for employment indicating a preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination based on age, unless age is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) (see Exceptions in this section).
For job advertisements, employers should avoid any reference to age-related statements such as “young” or “vigorous” applicants desired. In addition, application forms should not contain requests for age-related dates such as high school or college graduation dates. Instead, employers should focus on the training, certification, or degree that is required to perform the job in question.