Age discrimination is beginning to garner more attention in the media, but workers in New Jersey continue to be discriminated against on the basis of age. If you have been treated unfairly by an employer because of your age, turn to Castronovo & McKinney, LLC.
Our experienced employment law attorneys are here to protect your right to earn a living regardless of your age. Well-versed in the applicable state and federal laws that protect employees from age discrimination, we know how to hold employers accountable for illegally making employment decisions on the basis of age. Above all, we will always work in your best interests and help you achieve a positive outcome, whether through negotiation or litigation.
Whether you have been denied an employment opportunity or have been fired because of your age, you need the informed representation we provide. Contact our Morristown or Manhattan office today for a consultation.
Protecting New Jersey Workers Against Age Discrimination
Both federal and state laws prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of age. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) makes it illegal for employers with at least 20 employees to discriminate against any employee or job applicant who is 40 years of age or older.
The ADEA prohibits discrimination with respect to any aspect of employment including hiring, firing, pay, promotions, training, layoffs, and other conditions of employment. In 1990, the law was amended by the Older Workers Benefits Protection Act which provides greater protections to older workers regarding employment benefits.
In New Jersey, the state’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD) applies to all employers regardless of how many employees they have. However, it only covers workers between the ages of 18 and 70. This means an employer can decline to hire someone under 18 years old and over 70 years old because of their age. However, an employer is still bound by the terms of the ADEA and cannot treat those employees less favorably than other employees in any of the terms or conditions of employment.
In any event, the LAD and federal law prohibit employers from discriminating against an employee or job applicant because of age by taking actions such as:
- Refusing to hire a candidate
- Firing an employee
- Forcing an employee to retire
- Denying an employee a promotion or training
- Treating an employee less favorably or differently
In addition, harassment (e.g. offensive comments, conduct, displays) based on age by anyone in the workplace — supervisor, coworker, client, customer — is considered an unlawful form of age discrimination. Harassment is more than an offhand remark or occasional teasing, however. To be illegal, the comments or conduct must be severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile work environment or result in an adverse employment action.
Identifying Age Discrimination in New Jersey
Age discrimination typically impacts older workers and can occur in a number of ways, such as:
- Hiring another candidate only because that person is younger
- Layoffs that disproportionately affect older employees
- Not offer training, bonuses, or other benefits to older workers
- Isolating older workers from younger employees
- Excluding older workers from meetings and company events
- Forcing an older worker to retire (with limited exceptions)
In short, an employment practice that negatively impacts employees or applicants age 40 or older without explicitly discriminating against them may be illegal if it is not based on a reasonable factor other than age.
While this seems straightforward, proving that an employer took action because of the victim’s age, rather than some other factor, is difficult. Employees have wide latitude in making employment decisions and often disguise their discriminatory motives. Given these challenges, it is wise to consult with an experienced employment discrimination attorney.
Example of Age Discrimination
One good example of age discrimination in the workplace occurred when Robert Braden was fired due to a “reduction in force” at his workplace. The National Law Review points out that a “reduction in force”—when the employee is terminated because the position itself is terminated—is how most cases of age discrimination present themselves.
Despite the claim by his employer that there was a “lack of work” for his position which resulted in the termination of his employment, Braden claimed someone else was hired for his position less than a year after he was fired, the National Law Review writes. The Review added that this is a common claim in reduction-in-force age discrimination cases.
How Castronovo & McKinney Can Help
When you consult with us, we will take the time to explain your rights and determine whether you have a viable age discrimination claim. We understand your concerns about pursuing a claim against your employer and will provide you with trustworthy advice and counsel. Though we prefer to resolve age discrimination claims through settlement negotiations, our trial attorneys are equally comfortable in state court.
Our legal team works to defend business clients against age discrimination claims and helps them establish anti-discriminatory policies and procedures. Above all, we are committed to ensuring workers are treated fairly regardless of age and helping employers create workplaces free from discrimination.
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Age Discrimination Attorneys
The contemporary workplace should provide a welcoming environment for younger and older workers alike; however, age discrimination is commonplace. At Castronovo & McKinney, we have a proven history of successfully resolving age discrimination claims in and out of the courtroom. Trust our legal team to always work in your best interests and make sure your rights are protected. Contact us today so we can start working on your case.