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Age Discrimination

Age discrimination has its own special federal law, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, (ADEA). It is also covered under most state laws, including the Pennsylvania HRA and the New Jersey LAD.

These laws were enacted to protect people over 40 in the workplace. They used to cover people 40-70, however, a couple of years ago, the ADEA was revised, and no upper limit now exists, (probably in deference to the aging baby-boomers, who don't want to be forced into retirement at 65).

In New Jersey, in 1998, an action was successfully maintained under the NJLAD on behalf of a younger person, who claimed discrimination because of his youth, but in general, people under 40 can not state a claim for age discrimination.

EARLY RETIREMENT PACKAGES:  Companies will sometimes offer early retirement programs. These are special, enhanced benefit packages for those employees who have worked a certain number of years. This is not age discrimination. However, if older people are being forced to take the package, and it can be proved that the package was only offered for the purpose of weeding out the older employees, that is discriminatory.

IT LOOKS LIKE AGE DISCRIMINATION:  Often, when companies need to downsize for financial reasons, they look to their more expensive people as the most efficient way to cut costs. It is not illegal to replace people who earn a lot of money with people who earn less money, but often, the people making more money, are older, because they are more senior. In such a circumstance, the employee would have to prove that the motivation for his/her termination was age, and not just saving money.

STATISTICS:  One of the major tools for proving age discrimination is often the use of statistics. An analysis of a company's overall termination history, or promotion history, will often reveal what individual anecdotes will not. Sometimes, when you move far enough away from the forest to see the trees, you realize that the only trees that were cut down, were the old ones.

Company personnel and payroll records are absolutely discoverable, and can reveal all kinds of trends.

Discrimination ] Title VII ] Sexual Orientation Discrimination ] Harassment ] [ Age Discrimination ] Disability Discrimination ] Wrongful Termination ] The E.E.O.C. and State Agencies ]

DISCLAIMER: This website is intended to give general information on a very complicated area of the law.  None of the information in this website is to be construed as legal advice; it is for informational purposes only.  No information provided in this website, or communications made over its affiliated e-mail address, is to be considered as having created an attorney-client relationship. The materials provided in this website provide summaries only.  Employment law cases are very fact-intensive and fact-sensitive.  An evaluation of an actual case requires an extensive discussion of the specific facts and a thorough evaluation based on those facts and the applicable law.