Age Discrimination in the Workplace
According to studies conducted by AARP, over 64 percent of workers across the county have witnessed first-hand or experienced age discrimination in their workplace.
This statistic starkly contradicts the laws we have in our nation that are supposed to protect aging employees. Continue reading to learn about these specific laws regarding age discrimination and valid exceptions. We’ll also go over when you can file a claim in the event your rights are violated.
Laws Regarding Age Discrimination in NJ
The federal government passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act in 1967. This important act prevents employers from discriminating against job applicants that are over 40 years of age. The act specifically prohibits any age discrimination during the employment process. These laws also make it illegal for employers to reduce health or life benefits to workers who are aging, force older workers into retirement or using layoffs to reduce the number of older workers in their force.
In addition, the federal Older Workers’ Benefit Protection Act also prohibits discriminatory practices when giving employees benefits and retirement.
The state of New Jersey has also passed the Law Against Discrimination, which broadens the definition of age discrimination to anyone aged 18 to 70. Age cannot be considered with respect to the terms and conditions of employment, the hiring process or when calculating compensation. This law also makes it a criminal offense to harass an employee about their age.
Exceptions to Age Discrimination Laws
According to these various laws, there are exceptions to when an employer can base decisions on age. Bona fide occupational qualifications are allowed, which means that discriminatory practices may be necessary when age is a factor in the person’s ability to safely perform a job. It must, however, be reasonable to assume that the workload is too much or unsafe for people over a certain age.
Another exception is that having a seniority system that determines a person’s wage and benefits is acceptable.
Filing a Claim Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
In order for a claim to be valid under the ADEA, the older employee must have been replaced by a younger one. The person filing the claim must prove that they were replaced specifically because of their age. The employee must not have waived their ADEA rights in exchange for a severance package.
Contact a Middletown Labor Lawyer to Discuss Your New Jersey Age Discrimination Case
Age discrimination can be devastating, particularly if it prevents you from returning to work for an extended period of time. Although New Jersey labor laws are supposed to protect you from age discrimination, it is not always easy to defend your rights on your own. That is why you should speak with a knowledgeable labor lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the process. The experienced employment law attorneys at Rudnick, Addonizio, Pappa and Casazza represent clients in Middletown, East Brunswick, Hazlet, and all across New Jersey. Call 732-264-4400 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation about your age discrimination case. Our main office is located at 197 State Route 18 South, Suite 3000, East Brunswick, NJ 08816 and we also have offices in Hazlet, NJ.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.