Age Discrimination Attorneys
New Jersey Age Discrimination Lawyers
According to federal and state law, employers may not refuse to hire, fire, or discriminate in any way due to an employee’s age. Despite this, age-based discrimination is common in today’s workforce. Although it is illegal for employers to discriminate against job applicants and employees on the basis of age, those over the age of 40 frequently receive fewer benefits and opportunities than their younger counterparts.
In June 2018, the EEOC commemorated the 50th anniversary of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). They issued a report on the persistence of age bias in the workplace. Although the ADEA’s mission was to expand employment and career opportunities to workers over the age of 40, the EEOC’s report showed a marked increase in age discrimination claims across many demographics.
As New Jersey employment discrimination attorneys, we often encounter clients that are unsure if they experienced age discrimination. Richard Schall and Patricia Barasch have seen about every tactic employers use to disguise their illegal discriminatory practices and can help you determine if your rights were violated.
Whereas the ADEA protects employees age 40 and older, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) prohibits age discrimination against anyone age 18 or older.
What is age discrimination?
The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits employers of companies with 20 or more employees from discriminating against employees who are 40 years of age or older. By contrast, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination applies to all employers, regardless of the number of employees. A covered employer may not discriminate against an older worker in:
- Disciplinary action
- Work assignments
- Other terms and conditions of employment
What are examples of Age Discrimination?
Age discrimination is rarely obvious to those facing it. Employers often demonstrate a surprising amount of skill in hiding their discriminatory practices. The following examples demonstrate potential cases of age discrimination:
- An employer makes demeaning age-related remarks about an employee or applicant.
- An employer grants higher salaries to younger employees with less skill and experience than older employees with more experience.
- A supervisor gives an older employee an unwarranted poor performance review.
- Mass layoffs were announced at a company and most of the people laid off were older. Younger workers with less experience and seniority preserved their positions.
- A company undergoing difficult financial times fires or lays off older employees first because they earn the highest salaries.
- An employer refuses to let an older employee take a training course they might otherwise permit a younger employee to take.
- A supervisor assigns undesirable or demeaning tasks only to older employees in order to encourage them to quit.
- A company refuses to hire applicants who appear to look older than a certain age in order to maintain a youthful company image.
- An employer forces an employee to take an early retirement.
New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination differs from the federal ADEA in several significant ways:
- Whereas the ADEA only protects those 40 years of age or older, the New Jersey LAD protects all employees over the age of 18.
- The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination allows workers who win their age discrimination cases to recover compensatory and punitive damages, without any “cap” limiting the possible recovery. The damages available under the ADEA are much more limited.
What damages can I recover for age discrimination in New Jersey?
If an employee or job applicant faced age discrimination they might be able to receive damages for:
- Lost wages or back pay
- If an employee can prove that his or her employer selected them for a layoff on the basis of age, the employee can recover the pay they would have lost up until the time of the trial. This is called back pay.
- Pain and suffering (emotional distress)
- New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination allows for pain and suffering damages.
- Punitive damages
- New Jersey’s LAD allows an employee to sue for punitive damages if the employer, specifically upper management, engaged in “especially egregious conduct.”
- Lost benefits
- An employee may recover the financial value of the benefits he or she lost as a result of age discrimination.
- Legal fees
New Jersey Age Discrimination Lawyers
In today’s workforce, employers sometimes view a worker’s older age as a burden rather than an asset. Whether the decision to terminate an employee on account of age is a conscious or unconscious decision by an employer, it is illegal. The NJ Age discrimination attorneys Richard Schall and Patricia Barasch have many years of experience in successfully handling these cases. Feel free to contact us by filling out our questionnaire or by calling us at 856.914.9200
Richard Schall agues against forced arbitration before the New Jersey Supreme Court