After years of faithful service, did your company give you the pink slip because “they are going in a new direction”? Did your supervisor tell you the company needed a “more youthful look” or that you “were slowing down”? Age discrimination in New Jersey workplaces is a serious problem. Employers are prohibited from making employment decisions – or harassing you – because you are “too old” or even “too young.” That doesn’t stop an increasingly competitive workforce from firing, refusing to hire, demoting, and harassing qualified individuals simply on the basis of their birth date.
The Arcè Law Group is a full-service employment law firm fighting for mistreated workers across New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Age discrimination can be hard to prove. You need the sound advice and diligent investigation skills of an experienced lawyer to ensure maximum recovery. The Arcè Law Group offers free initial consultations for clients in and around Newark, Jersey City, Princeton, New York City, across Pennsylvania, and across New Jersey. Call today at 212.248.0120.The Basics of Federal and NJ State age Discrimination Laws
Federal and state laws offer broad protections for employees who suspect ageism at work. However, state and national laws vary greatly – your NJ lawyer may decide to file in state or federal court depending on which law your case falls under.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) covers employees 40 years old and over. It does not protect workers under the age of 40 and only applies to companies who employ 20 or more workers. The ADEA applies to all work situations, including hiring, firing, pay decisions, and promotions as well as harassment.
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination
If your case falls outside the parameters of the ADEA, the NJ Law Against Discrimination (LAD) may cover you. The LAD protects employees ages 18 to 70, meaning an employer cannot discriminate against if you are too young or too old, unless you are a minor or you are over the age of 70.
Jobs should be open to all qualified applicants, regardless of age. Employers are supposed to take into account work history, job skills, and education, instead of superficial qualities. Age is not supposed to prevent you from getting a job, apprenticeship, or traineeship.
Job advertisements cannot specifically exclude a certain age group when employers are looking for applicants. However, if age is a “bona fide occupational qualification,” then it may be permissible. For example, if an acting company looks for a specific role in a play.
The LAD does not prohibit refusing to hire individuals because they are a minor or over the age of 70. The ADEA, however, does protect applicants over 70 years old.
In fact, New York and New Jersey law prohibit “reverse” age discrimination if an employer discriminates against an employee because it perceives him or her to be too young.Age Discrimination in New Jersey Workplaces
Making employment decisions based on a person’s age is illegal in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Age cannot be a factor when it comes to:
- Terms of employment
- Employee privileges
Of course, there are certain exceptions. The ADEA only protects workers over 40 and the LAD exclusively offers protections for employees between the ages of 18 and 70. A NJ attorney can offer more detailed information.
What is age harassment?
Age harassment is also illegal under the LAD and ADEA. Simple teasing and offhand remarks are generally not considered harassment. Yet, if a co-worker’s or supervisor’s conduct is so egregious that it creates a hostile work environment, or results in a tangible employment action, you may have a legal claim for discrimination. Contact your New Jersey age discrimination lawyer for more information.
Age discrimination and harassment can be subtle or overt. Some examples of age discrimination on the job include:
- Making demeaning or disparaging comments about your age
- Being told you are out of date and losing touch
- Being terminated and replaced by a younger, less qualified applicant
- Repeatedly being passed up for promotions
- Being told you are too young for a position
- Setting a mandatory retirement age (there are notable exceptions)
- Asking how old you are in a job interview
Depending on the specific of your claim, your NJ workplace discrimination lawyer may chose to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR), or file a lawsuit in New Jersey Superior Court or federal court. In New York, you may also take a claim to the EEOC or file a suit in New York state or federal court.
Do not attempt to take on a legal claim on your own. Only a seasoned attorney with deep knowledge of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania employment law can offer you the guidance and representation today. To arrange your no-cost, no-obligation consultation, contact the Arcè Law Group today at 212.248.0120, or contact us online.