older female employee with young male employee

Workplace Age Discrimination and Available Remedies

By Thomas McKinney

Age discrimination occurs in the employment context when an employee or job applicant faces adverse employment action due to the fact that they are either older or younger than others. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of age, but there are some exceptions. Let’s take a closer look at workplace discrimination protections and the remedies available to those that suffer such discriminatory employment practices.

What are the available remedies for workplace age discrimination?

Generally speaking, New Jersey law prohibits an employer from treating employees differently on the basis of age. The protections afforded under the New Jersey LAD also mean it is against the law for an employer to refuse to hire a job applicant because of the applicant’s age. An employer cannot fire or lay off an employee because of their age. Furthermore, an employer cannot force an employee to retire because of their age.

Age cannot be a reason that would prevent a person from applying for a job nor can it be a reason an applicant did not get a job. The exception, however, is that age can be considered in evaluating applicants when the applicant is either under the age of 18 or over the age of 70. Additionally, employers can advertise a job and hire a person of a particular age when age is a “bona fide occupational qualification.” This means that age is an essential and central part of the job itself.

In the employee-employer context, an employer is prohibited from making employment decisions based on age. There can be no age discrimination in making job assignments, determining pay levels, employee benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment. An employer cannot take adverse employment action, such as discharging or demoting an employee, due to the employee’s age. An exception to these general rules is that an employer may refuse to promote an employee who is over the age of 70. Age can also be used as a factor when it comes to the terms and conditions of retirement, pension, and more. A mandatory retirement age, however, is not permissible.

On top of all of these protections, it is also important to know that the LAD prohibits an employer from harassing an employee or permitting others to harass an employee because of that employee’s age. Derogatory comments concerning an employee’s age are prohibited. Allowing people to interfere with an employee’s work because of their age is also not permissible. If you have been the victim of a violation of these age discrimination protections, there may be a number of remedies available to you. In a successful employment claim for age discrimination, a claimant may be entitled to back pay with interest. The employee may also be entitled to restoration of employee benefits they would have received but for unlawful discrimination. In some cases, a claimant may be awarded damages for pain and emotional distress caused by unlawful discrimination as well as reasonable attorney’s fees and out-of-pocket expenses incurred due to pursuing the complaint.

New Jersey Employment Law Attorneys

Are you a victim of age discrimination in the workplace? Reach out to the team at Castronovo & McKinney to discuss your legal options. Contact us today.

About the Author
Tom McKinney is an experienced NJ Employment Lawyer in all major areas of labor and employment law, including discrimination, harassment, overtime violations, wage and hour claims, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, LAD, FLSA, and all other employment law claims. Tom is admitted to practice in the States of New Jersey and New York, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Southern District of New York, District of New Jersey, and United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Prior to forming the firm, Tom practiced at Gibbons P.C. in Newark, NJ. If you have any questions regarding this article, contact Tom here today.