Age discrimination can affect almost any New Jersey employee, although it occurs most often among older workers who find themselves passed over in favor of younger individuals. Both federal and state employment laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of age to varying degrees. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit earlier this year against a New Jersey employer on behalf of a 62-year-old woman. The complainant alleges that her employer passed her over for a lateral transfer in violation of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The lawsuit, which is pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, seeks back pay and other damages for the complainant, as well as policy changes and other injunctive relief. If you feel you are the victim of age discrimination in the workplace, please reach out to a New Jersey employment lawyer to discuss your options.
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) provides extensive protection against workplace age discrimination. It applies to almost all employers, regardless of the number of employees. It does not limit its protections to workers of any particular age, as long as they are adults. A qualified 20-year-old who lost out on an opportunity because of the perception of being “too young” could assert a claim under the NJLAD, as could a qualified 70-year-old who was passed over for being “too old.”
Federal law’s protections against age discrimination are not as broad as those provided by the NJLAD. The ADEA applies to employers with at least twenty employees and workers who are forty years old or older. Its protections are essentially limited to discrimination based on someone being perceived as “too old.” The 70-year-old described above could assert a claim under the ADEA if they work for a large enough employer. The 20-year-old could not, though.