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New Jersey Extends Age Discrimination Protection to Employees Over 70

New Jersey Extends Age Discrimination Protection to Employees Over 70

New Jersey has expanded its law prohibiting discrimination against older workers, removing the upper age limit for an employee to be covered. Thanks to recent legislation, state law now protects workers over 70 years of age against all forms of job discrimination, including mandatory retirement. Previously, the law only protected employees between ages 40 and 70.

The amended Law Against Discrimination (LAD) also increases the legal remedies available to an employee who suffers adverse actions based on age. Previously, an employee who could prove age discrimination had to file a complaint with the state Attorney General’s Office and was limited to obtaining job reinstatement plus back pay. Under the amended LAD, an employee can bring a lawsuit in court and recover other damages and costs, such as compensation for pain and suffering, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.

With more people continuing to work later in life, it is becoming more common for employees to report that they have observed or experienced age discrimination in the workplace, often on a regular basis. The revised law is expected to increase the number of claims of age bias in employment.

In general, there are two kinds of employer practices that may support an age discrimination claim:

  • Disparate treatment— This is the more direct and obvious form of discrimination. Disparate treatment occurs when an employer’s actions or policies directly target older workers. For example, management positions are to be filled from pool of applicants born after 1972. This is discriminatory on its face.
  • Disparate impact — Here, the company action or policy may seem neutral, but the ultimate impact or effect is a negative consequence for an older employee. For example, management positions are to be filled from a pool of applicants who received an advanced degree within the last 10 years. Although a person of any age could receive an advanced degree within 10 years, this requirement is likely to negatively impact older individuals.

Disparate impact may be considered nondiscriminatory if the employer can demonstrate a reasonable basis other than age for the action taken. In the second example above, the employer could argue that developments in technology or specialized knowledge have driven the need for a recent advanced degree and that the 10-year requirement has nothing to do with age. However, this argument can be rebutted by demonstrating a pattern of the company favoring younger people for jobs and promotions.

New Jersey age discrimination cases can be difficult to prove and may require significant investigation and documentation. Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt has the knowledge and experience necessary to analyze your case and help you understand your options. Contact us online or call us at 551-245-8894 to set up an initial consultation at our Hackensack office.

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Neil H. Deutsch

About Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for…

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Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

About Bruce L. Atkins is regarded as one of New Jersey’s premier practitioners of employment and civil litigation. He has been selected to the New Jersey Super Lawyers prestigious list every year since 2005.  This honor, bestowed upon a recipient by the votes of his peers, is a powerful nod to the skill Mr. Atkins…

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Adam J. Kleinfeldt

About Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigations such as discrimination, retaliation, and whistle blowing matters.  He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for some of his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict…

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Diane Englander Peyser

About Diane Englander Peyser joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in September 2018 where she represents employees in wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment, and discrimination matters. Prior to joining Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C., Diane represented clients in all aspects of employment law on behalf of employees involving unemployment appeals, claims of sexual harassment, LGBT discrimination,…

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Debra M. McGarvey

About Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA),…

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