Employers may not discriminate against employees or applicants on the basis of age, including in decisions about hiring, promotions, termination, layoffs or discipline. However, this prohibition only applies to workers who are ages 40 or older. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 likewise only applies to employers who have 20 or more employees.
Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, employers of any size are prohibited from discriminating against employees on the basis of age, and there is no minimum age threshold. In practice, however, people are likelier to be successful with age discrimination claims under the act if they are older workers who are replaced by workers who are substantially younger than them. If you need help, contact an attorney with Swartz Swidler to learn more about your claim.
Protections under the ADEA against age discrimination in the workplace
The protections under the ADEA apply to apprenticeship programs. They are not allowed to restrict applicants who are older than age 39 from participating in them. Age may only be used if it is a bona fide qualification for the job. Age discrimination is also prohibited in job advertisements. For example, employers may not list age preferences or limitations as job qualifications. If an employer asks for an applicant’s age before the applicant is hired, it may be viewed as evidence of age discrimination. Older workers must also be offered the same types of benefits as younger workers. However, since some benefits cost more for older workers, employers may reduce the benefits to an amount that is the same as the cost of the benefits for younger workers. Employers may offer departing workers additional severance pay in exchange for an agreement to not bring a legal claim against the company. These waivers must comply with certain legal requirements or they will not be considered valid.
The waivers must be in writing, be understandable, refer to ADEA rights specifically, not attempt to waive future claims and be made in exchange for valuable consideration. The worker must also be given at least 21 days to consider the waiver and at least seven days to revoke it after it has been signed.
To learn more about your rights under state and federal law concerning age discrimination in the workplace, it is important for you to seek the advice of experienced employment law attorneys. Contact the lawyers at Swartz Swidler to schedule your consultation today and to learn more about your own case.