Age discrimination continues to be a problem in New Jersey workplaces, even though federal and state laws make it illegal. Discrimination against older workers can occur at any point in the employment relationship, including termination. If you suspect you were fired or laid off because of your age, you need an experienced age discrimination attorney at your side.
At Castronovo & McKinney, we have extensive experience handling employment discrimination cases, including those involving age discrimination. When you meet with us, we will review your employment history and the circumstances of your termination and explore your legal options. Contact our office today for a consultation.
How Are Older Workers Protected Against Age Discrimination?
The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects job applicants and employees who are 40 years old or older from employment discrimination based on age. The ADEA prohibits employers from making age-based employment decisions, such as hiring, firing, and other work-related actions.
The ADEA only covers employers with 20 or more employees. Also, aggrieved employees must file an age discrimination complaint with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before they can pursue a civil lawsuit. However, employees in New Jersey have stronger legal protections under state law.
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) covers all employers, regardless of the number of employees, and does not require a claimant to file an administrative complaint before filing a lawsuit. The NJLAD only covers workers between the age of 18 and 70. That means an employer can terminate an employee who is under the age of 18 and older than 70 without legal repercussions.
Nonetheless, employers must still comply with the ADEA and cannot treat older workers less favorably than other similarly situated employees in any term or condition of employment. In short, state and federal laws forbid employers from discriminating against older workers by taking adverse actions such as:
- Firing an employee because of their age
- Forcing an employee to retire because they are older
- Only laying off older employees
Age discrimination claims are more challenging to prove because we must be able to show that your age was the primary reason for your dismissal. You can depend on our legal team to conduct a thorough investigation, prove the necessary elements of age discrimination, and help you recover damages.
What Constitutes Age Discrimination and Wrongful Termination?
It is common for individuals to remain in the workforce beyond the traditional retirement age; however, many employers prefer to hire and retain young employees because they perceive them to be more tech-savvy and less expensive. Though the signs of age discrimination can be challenging to spot, age may not be the reason for terminating a worker. An employer that fires an older employee to replace them with a younger employee may be liable for age discrimination.
Finally, employers cannot discriminate against workers based on age when assigning jobs, giving promotions, conducting layoffs, offering training, or awarding fringe benefits. It is also illegal for supervisors, customers, or coworkers to harass older employees because of their age.
To have a valid wrongful termination claim, an older employee must prove (1) the employer fired them because of their age and (2) the employee was meeting performance expectations at the time of the firing. The employer has the burden of proving that there was a non-discriminatory reason for the termination.
How Castronovo & McKinney Can Help
Once you become our client, we will handle all the details of your claim, such as:
- Conducting a thorough examination
- Obtaining and reviewing your personnel file and performance reviews
- Determining whether the reason for your termination was your age
- Identifying others who were fired because they are older
- Take over communications with the employer and their attorneys
We prefer to resolve age discrimination claims through settlement negotiations and will demand full payment of your claim. If the defendant fails to make a reasonable offer, we will take them to court to recover the compensation you deserve. Depending on the circumstances, you may recover damages such as:
- Reinstatement to your position, if practicable
- Lost wages – back pay, front pay
- The value of lost benefits (e.g. health insurance, paid time off)
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
We know that being fired due to your age can be devastating and we will protect your rights.
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Age Discrimination Attorneys
At Castronovo & McKinney, we have a proven history of successfully resolving age discrimination and wrongful termination claims in and out of the courtroom. The sooner you contact our office, the sooner we can start working on your claim.