Age discrimination in the workplace, while all too common, is illegal under various state and federal laws. In most cases, you must be at least forty (40) years old to bring a claim of age discrimination (although this is not the case in New Jersey).
If you have suffered an adverse employment action including termination, layoff, refusal to promote or hire, or harassment due to your age, you may have a claim for discrimination.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA):
If you are at least forty (40) years old, The ADEA protects your rights against employment discrimination based on your age. Protections apply to current and former employees in addition to job applicants. The law prohibits discrimination based on arbitrary age limits and other discriminatory practices in hiring, promotion, layoffs, benefits or other employment related decisions.
Additionally, jobs are not to have an age requirement unless this requirement is a “bona fide occupational qualification” (BFOQ). In order for an employer to show that age is a BFOQ in PA and NJ, the employer must show that the particular age is reasonably necessary for the normal operation of business, that nearly all workers over the age limit would not be able to perform the tasks safely and effectively, or that it would be exceedingly difficulty to consider each older applicant.
Under Federal law, before one can sue, they must file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 300 days of the last discrimination.
Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA).
The PHRA protects any person forty (40) years of age or older against employment discrimination based on age. A complaint must be filed with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) within 180 days of the last discrimination.
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD).
The NJLAD prohibits employment discrimination based on age, but does not limit the ages covered, meaning that the young (under forty years of age) are protected as well as the old.
If you believe you have been discriminated against at work based on your age or have been the victim of retaliation, call Silver & Silver today for a free consultation at 610-658-0500.