Though all Americans over the age of 40 are protected against age discrimination in employment by a federal statute known as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), employees in the state of New Jersey have the benefit of a state statute that also prohibits age discrimination in the workplace. Though both statutes are available to those who feel that they have been the victims of age discrimination, for practical purposes the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, or NJLAD, provides more robust protections and offers more options for damages and remedies.
Though age discrimination can come in many forms, the most common incidents of age discrimination are those in which an employee who is in their mid-50s or older find themselves being terminated despite having an extended tenure with their employer and a strong and positive performance record. Though it is possible for employees who are older and who are terminated after a short period of time to file an age discrimination suit, these situations are more challenging to prove, as an employer can cite performance as their reason for firing you rather than your age. By contrast, an age discrimination suit that involves a much younger employee being hired to assume the position of the older employee who was terminated (despite positive performance reviews) is generally a much stronger case.
There are other elements that make an age discrimination case successful. In some situations, an employer will make veiled comments that are indicative of discriminatory practices based on age. Examples of this include phrases such as “fresh faces” or “new blood”. In other employees become aware of a pattern of these types of age-discrimination practices, and the collective record of older-employee firings tell a compelling and convincing story.
Discrimination in the workplace is unacceptable regardless of which protected group it is perpetrated against. But improvements in medicine have provided people the option to continue working for many more years than has previously been possible. At the same time, employers have found themselves paying long-time employees incomes that have incrementally increased over the years, to the point where it becomes more financially attractive for them to switch to younger workers who they can pay lower salaries.
Age discrimination is illegal, and if you believe that it has happened to you then we are here to help. We are experienced and knowledgeable discrimination attorneys who will closely examine the details of your situation and advise you as to whether your rights have been violated. Contact us today to set up a consultation to discuss your situation.