Is it legal to post birthdays at work?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about disclosing birth date:

Is it legal to post the birth month and day of employees at work?

Signed, Wondering

Dear Wondering:

There are no specific laws about posting birth dates and many offices do so. However, birth YEARS should not be posted, not only as a courtesy but to avoid any accusation that such posting leads to discrimination about age. It might add to someone’s case if they later feel their age is an issue in employment practices-and the act of posting the year may start that kind of thinking, especially if some employees make a big deal about either youth or age.I think it’s not good to ever refer to someone’s specific age for that reason. (That’s also why there should not be any “over the hill” parties, no matter how well meant they are.

Admittedly, there are some people who don’t like the fuss of being told Happy Birthday or similar aspects of celebrating birthdays–and that can be understandable. However, the purpose behind the birthday remembrance is usually positive and to argue about it makes one appear really unpleasant. It’s such a small thing that most people just go with it. Besides, in most offices people are fully aware of birthdays and can get them through various sources anyway.

Generally, the decision about posting the birth date is up to the manager or HR, but often employees get together and ask to have it posted on a special calendar, as a reminder for everyone.I hope this answers your questions about it. Best wishes, and an early Happy Birthday to you!I couldn’t resist that little joke. 🙂

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.