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.
The complainant in the EEOC lawsuit began working for the defendant, a New Jersey-based healthcare company, in 2015 as an “Obesity Care Specialist.” Her job was based in Arizona, where she resided, and involved “visiting healthcare providers and other stakeholders to promote Defendant’s weight-loss product.” The EEOC’s complaint states that the defendant assigned her to the Phoenix area in early 2018, which would have required her to commute about fifty miles each day. She requested a lateral transfer to an open position that covered a territory closer to where she lived. She interviewed for the position, but the defendant chose someone else.
The lawsuit alleges that the manager who interviewed the complainant told her that he rejected her application “because he wanted someone who was going to be in the territory ‘long term,’ a clear reference to [the complainant’s] age.” He hired a 33-year-old instead. The complainant filed an internal complaint alleging age discrimination. After an investigation, the defendant determined that the manager had violated its discrimination policy and fired him. It did not, however, offer a lateral transfer or other restitution to the complainant. She then filed a complaint with the EEOC.
The EEOC filed suit against the defendant in June 2022. Since the defendant is based in New Jersey, it filed the lawsuit here. The EEOC alleges that the defendant willfully violated the ADEA. If it can prove that the defendant’s actions were willful, it can recover liquidated damages in addition to the other relief it is seeking.
If you have experienced unlawful age discrimination in the workplace, you need an experienced and skilled advocate who can fight for your rights. The employment attorneys at the Resnick Law Group represent workers in New Jersey and New York in claims for discrimination and other unlawful employment practices. Please contact us today online, at 973-781-1204, or at 646-867-7997 to schedule a confidential consultation to see how we can help.