If you are successful with your age discrimination claim, the amount of compensation you might expect to receive will depend on the losses that you have incurred as a result of the discrimination. Your available damages may include your lost pay, attorney’s fees, liquidated damages and emotional distress. If you sue under state law in New Jersey, you may also be able to recover punitive damages, but they are not allowed under federal law. Your age discrimination lawyer at Swartz Swidler may advise you on the types of damages that might be available to you in your particular case.
Age discrimination laws
Age discrimination is prohibited federally as well as under the anti-discrimination laws of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The availability of damages differs depending on whether you sue under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination or the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act
Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, employers that have 20 or more employees are prohibited from discriminating against workers who are 40 years old or older. Covered employees are not allowed to discriminate in any aspect of employment from hiring to firing. Some workplace policies that do not overtly appear discriminatory may be deemed to constitute age discrimination if they have a disparate impact on older employees.
New Jersey and Pennsylvania age discrimination laws
New Jersey and Pennsylvania each have their own state laws that prohibit work-related age discrimination. New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination allows employees to recover punitive damages to punish their employers. It also applies to workers of all ages, meaning it is possible for people who are under age 40 but who are discriminated against because of their ages to file claims. Like the federal law, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act covers workers who are 40 or older, however.
There are several types of damages that may be available to workers who are successful in their age discrimination claims, but they differ depending on whether you sue under state or federal law. Under both federal and state law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, you are able to recover the pay that you lost because of the age discrimination against you. If you are able to prove that you were laid off because of your age, you will be able to recover back pay up until your trial as well as the front pay that you will continue to lose. You may also be able to recover the value of any fringe benefits that you lost or any that you would have received if you had not been discriminated against.
You cannot recover damages for emotional distress under the ADEA, but damages for emotional pain and suffering are recoverable under the state anti-discrimination laws of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. To prove that you suffered emotional distress, you may need to have an expert evaluate you and then testify about your injuries at trial. It will be up to the jury to determine what amount to award you for the emotional distress that you suffered.
Punitive damages are not available under the ADEA or in Pennsylvania, but they may be available to you if you sue in New Jersey under the Law Against Discrimination. Your attorney at Swartz Swidler may advise you about the most appropriate jurisdiction for your claim. You may also be able to recover your attorney’s fees under federal and state law. To learn more about your rights and the damages that may be available to you, schedule an appointment with the experienced employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler.