Who is Covered Under Age Discrimination Laws in New Jersey?
Facing any form of discrimination can be a difficult and frustrating dilemma for people of all ages. No person who is qualified for the position they applied for should be discriminated against due to their age or any other personal factor. In New Jersey, the Law Against Discrimination places restraints on employers and labor unions from discriminating against employees or potential employees because of their age. If you believe you have been wrongly affected by age discrimination from an employer, you should consider speaking with an attorney. North Jersey employment discrimination lawyer Usmaan Sleemi invites you to a free consultation to discuss your potential age discrimination case.
Employee Rights Against Age Discrimination
Age discrimination refers to the practice of discriminating against others either because they are older than others or because they are younger than others. It is against New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD) for an employer to treat you differently or harass you because of your age. The LAD also restricts other employer practices which are age discriminatory such as:
- Not hiring a potential employee because of their age
- Firing or laying off an employee because of their age
- Forcing an employee into retirement due to their age
An employer also cannot use the age of employee to:
- Make decisions concerning job assignments
- Set wage levels for employment or change employment benefits
- Demote an employee
Some employees may face ridicule in the workplace due to their age. However, the LAD also protects employees from this type of conduct. An employer cannot harass you, or permit other employees to harass you or interfere with your work. This protection includes refraining from derogatory comments about the employee because of their age.
As mentioned earlier, employees also are protected from age discrimination from labor unions. An employee cannot be denied membership or removed from a labor union because of their age. Similarly, a labor union may not treat an employee differently in any way due to their age. One distinction between labor unions and other employers is that they can establish their own age guidelines for deciding if an employee can be included in a training or apprenticeship program.
The LAD also provides protections for individuals in business transactions. This means a party cannot refuse to conduct business transactions with you due to your age, such as:
- Providing goods, services, or information
Individuals Not Covered by Age Discrimination Laws
The LAD does not provide protection for people of all ages. Generally, those who are exceptions to the LAD are under the age of 18 or over the age of 70. To explain, the LAD does not prohibit:
- Denying hiring a potential employee who is under the age of 18
- Refusing to hire or promote an individual who is over the age of 70
- A refusal to hire people over a certain age due to other laws which set the age of employment for particular jobs, like law enforcement
- Limiting the age group of applicants for a position (e.g. acting job)
There are also exceptions to business transactions which you should be aware of – for example, if a business owner who refuses to do business with a person because he or she is complying with an age requirement law, such as a legal age limit for purchasing alcohol.
When looking at promotions for a position, an employer may refuse to promote an individual over the age of 70. However, that employer cannot treat you differently in your current position, no matter how old you are. Additionally, if an employee seeks to retire, the terms of the retirement plan must not have provisions forcing an employee to retire at a certain age. However, the LAD does provide for some mandatory retirements. For example, judges or tenured employees of colleges and universities have mandatory retirement guidelines, as well as certain other jobs.
Remedies for Age Discrimination
Victims of age discrimination are entitled to many different remedies under the law. Winning an age discrimination case may provide an age discrimination victim remedies like:
- Being given the job he or she was illegally denied with back pay and interest
- Damages for emotional distress caused by the unlawful discrimination
- Reasonable attorney fees associated with the case
- Restoration of employee benefits terminated by the age discrimination
Victims of age discrimination should also be aware that they are protected from retaliation due to filing, or assisting to file, a good faith complaint alleging age discrimination against an employer.
To be fully apprised of your rights in an age discrimination case, you should consult an experienced attorney.
North New Jersey Employment Attorney
If you suspect that you have been the victim of age discrimination and that you have been wrongfully terminated or denied employment because of it, you may be able to file a legal action for age discrimination. For a free, no-obligation consultation on your potential case, contact a Northern NJ employment lawyer at The Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi today at (973) 453-4060.