New Jersey Broadly Expands Age Discrimination Protections

Author: David B. Weisenfeld, XpertHR Legal Editor

October 8, 2021

Effective immediately, New Jersey has eliminated a major exception to its Law Against Discrimination (LAD) that had allowed private employers not to hire or promote employees who are over 70 years old.

The measure, signed by Governor Phil Murphy, also expands the available remedies available to an employee who is forced to retire due to age to include all remedies available under the LAD, and not just reinstatement of employment with backpay.

"Seventy is the new 50, and older individuals are continuing to work either due to financial need or because they still have the energy, skills and experience to offer the workforce," said State Senator Shirley Turner. "I am pleased that we have taken the steps to protect and empower those who might otherwise be forced into retirement before they are ready."

In evaluating job applicants or employees who are over 70, the New Jersey law makes clear that employers must not take their age into consideration in deciding whether to make an employment offer.

It also implements a higher standard for public employers in terms of setting a mandatory retirement age by removing provisions that had permitted government employers and higher education institutions to require public or tenured employees to retire at age 70.