On October 5, 2021, Governor Murphy signed new legislation (Assembly Bill No. A681) that amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) and expands the scope of age discrimination for older workers (in particular, workers over the age of 70) in the State of New Jersey. The amended law expands the protection of age discrimination in the following areas:
- The amended law repeals the requirement that governmental employees retire “upon the attainment of a certain age” if “a retirement age bears a manifest relationship to the employment in question . . .” As such, the amended law limits a governmental employer’s ability to set a mandatory retirement age.
- The amended law removes a section of the LAD stating that “that nothing herein contained shall be construed to bar an employer from refusing to accept for employment or promote any person over 70 years of age.” This clearly increases opportunities for workers over the age of 70 to obtain employment in the State of New Jersey.
- The amended law repeals a section of the LAD requiring tenured employees at public or private institutions of higher education to retire at the age of 70, which increases the likelihood that such employees will continue to remain employed and retire on their own volition.
- Lastly, the amended law adds remedies for employees who seek legal action due to forced retirement. Specifically, under the amended law, all remedies “shall be available” to such employees whereas prior to the amendment, employees were limited to seeking “reinstatement with back pay and interest.”
This is important legislation for older workers in the State of New Jersey. While it is unclear whether there will be a substantial increase in age discrimination litigation due to the amended law, the legislation does give employees over the age of 70 increased protection in the workplace. If you have any questions about age discrimination in the State of New Jersey, please do not hesitate to contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC.
* Frank A. Custode, Esq. is a Partner and Chair of the Employment Practice at Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC.