New Jersey Law Against Discrimination Broadened to Include Older Employees
In early October 2021, the governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, signed into law A681, to help fight against age discrimination and give older employees the full protection of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). The bill, which was signed on October 5, 2021, took effect immediately. Among other things, A681 eliminates a provision of the NJLAD that allowed employers to deny people over the age of 70 job opportunities or promotions.
Below is some crucial information New Jersey employees and employers need to know about A681.
The New Amendments
There are several significant amendments to the NJLAD. Notably, there are two major amendments that both employees and employers should know about when it comes to private employers. First, private employers are no longer allowed to refuse to hire or promote individuals over the age of 70. Because of this amendment, the NJLAD is now in line with the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Under the Federal Act, it is unlawful for employers to refuse to promote employees or hire job applicants over the age of 70.. Secondly, employees now have the ability to pursue all available remedies permitted by the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination if required to retire because of age.
Before these amendments, private employers in New Jersey could refuse to hire job seekers or promote employees over the age of 70 with impunity as the NJLAD excluded such decisions from its protection. Further, the NJLAD provided limited remedies for employees who were forced to retire because of their age. Previously, such employees were only entitled to reinstatement with back pay and interest. Now, employees who are forced to retire due to their age are entitled to all remedies under the NJLAD, including, but not limited to:
- Punitive damages
- Injunctive relief, including reinstatement
- Front pay
- Back pay
- Attorneys’ fees
- Compensatory damages for emotional distress.
A681 also eliminates the mandatory retirement provision that allowed governmental employers to require retirement when an employee reached a certain age. Because of A681, a governmental employer can only require an employee to retire once they attain a certain age if they can show the employee cannot adequately perform their duties.
Additionally, A681 removes the NJLAD’s provision that permitted institutions of higher education that required tenured employees to retire at the age of 70.
What This Means for Employees and Job Seekers
Given the aging population and the number of employees who choose to retire at older ages, these amendments are quite important to job seekers and employees. If an employer does not train their management and review their policy to ensure compliance with these amendments, you, as an employee or job seeker, have the legal right to take legal action against an employer if they go against the new law and;
- refuse to promote or hire you because of your age, or
- require you to retire because of your age.
Contact Our Office for a Free Case Evaluation
Please feel free to contact Arykah Trabosh if an employer has discriminated against you by refusing to hire or promote you or, has asked you to retire because of your age. Call or contact the Trabosh Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation.