Articles Posted in Age Discrimination

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telecommuterThe New Jersey Law Against Discrimination was originally enacted in 1945. In the decades since, the legislature and the courts have expanded the reach of the LAD in order to reflect various changing realities. A recent decision by the Appellate Division may perhaps open the door for yet another group of workers when it comes to the LAD:  out-of-state telecommuters. This decision highlights how the law can change and how it pays to retain a knowledgeable New Jersey age discrimination attorney if you think you’ve been a victim of age discrimination.

The employee, Susan, had worked for 12 years for a company that was based in Haddonfield. During her employment, she only visited New Jersey a few times on business from 2003-08, and none from 2009-15. During the entire 12-year period, she never lived in New Jersey and never worked here. At all times, Susan worked remotely from her home in Massachusetts. She used an employer-provided laptop to connect to the employer’s computer server, and she used an employer-provided phone to participate in company conference calls.

After the employer terminated her employment, Susan brought a lawsuit in New Jersey, alleging age discrimination in violation of the LAD. The employer asked the court to throw out the lawsuit because Susan did not meet the requirements to bring a LAD lawsuit. The trial judge agreed and threw out the case.

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courtroomThere are several hurdles you have to clear on your way to a successful outcome in your New Jersey age discrimination lawsuit. One of the first of these is overcoming your employer’s motion for summary judgment, which is a legal request that the judge end your case before it gets to trial. There are a specific set of things that you have to demonstrate and assert to the court to get past this hurdle and get your trial. To give your case the best chance of getting its full day in court, be sure that you work with New Jersey employment counsel skilled in discrimination litigation.

Recently, one New Jersey employee’s age discrimination lawsuit offered an example of clearing this summary judgment hurdle. The employee, Judith, was a human resources professional who took a job in human resources management with an entertainment corporation in December 2013. Just one year later, the employer terminated her. She was 62 years old at the time that her employment ended.

Judith filed an age discrimination lawsuit under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. When you are bringing an age discrimination action under state law, there are several things that you have to demonstrate to the court in order to achieve a successful outcome or, potentially, even to bring your case to trial. You have to show that you were part of a protected class, that you were qualified to do your job, that you were terminated, and that you were terminated because of your membership in that protected class and replaced with someone younger.

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businessmanIt is said that an “ounce of prevention is worth of a pound of cure.” Unfortunately, sometimes in life, prevention simply isn’t possible. When these circumstances arise, especially when it comes to your employment situation, the most important thing is to make sure that your response is the right one. This is one of many areas where the advice of an experienced New Jersey discrimination attorney can be key. Take for example, the case of two art institute employees, whose federal discrimination lawsuit survived their employer’s attack based upon its institution of an arbitration policy. The lawsuit survived because the men promptly and explicitly rejected the policy, according to a recent Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision that is binding in federal courts in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

The employees, LaMont and Michael, were two men working as assistant directors of admissions at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. In 2012, after each received “inexplicably harsh and unfair quarterly” performance reviews, complete with ratings of “below expectations,” each man filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Michael alleged that the review was a pretext for age discrimination. LaMont’s assertions were similar but alleged that the basis in his case was age and race discrimination.

Less than two months after the men filed with the EEOC, the institute’s parent company instituted a company-wide alternative dispute resolution (ADR) policy. The policy established multiple tiers of dispute resolution, with the final tier being binding arbitration. The policy stated that it covered, among other things, all employee claims of discrimination, harassment, or wrongful termination.

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seniorIn any discrimination case, there can be traps and pitfalls that await you as a worker. In some cases, some of these litigation hazards can vary based upon where your lawsuit takes place, which is why an experienced New Jersey age discrimination attorney can be so vital to your case. For example, in some places, the fact that the same person who hired you also fired you soon after hiring you is considered very strong proof that no discriminatory motive existed. This is not true in the Third Circuit, which encompasses New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. In part due to this variation in the law, a man employed in Pennsylvania was able to go forward with his age and disability discrimination case.

The plaintiff in the case, Edward, was 63 when he began working for an employer that managed non-profit retirement communities. Only 14 months after Edward started his job as the entity’s Chief Financial Officer, the employer terminated him. According to the employer, the termination resulted from Edward’s poor performance, specifically, his numerous “errors in financial reports, financial models, and cash sheets.”

The employee sued his former employer. In his action, he alleged that the employer terminated him not because of his mistakes but because of his age (64) and his disability (a heart condition). The employer, in turn, asked the trial judge to issue a summary judgment in its favor. It argued that the evidence brought forward showed that Edward had no case.

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Best BuySometimes, the difference between a successful outcome and an unsuccessful one can be seemingly very tiny details. A knowledgeable New Jersey discrimination attorney can provide you with the assistance and representation you need when it comes to identifying those details and using them to your maximum advantage. In the case of one electronics store manager who alleged that his employer fired him due to age discrimination, he was able to pursue his case in the court system, rather than in arbitration, since he successfully persuaded the courts that he only acknowledged receipt of the employer’s new arbitration agreement and never affirmatively assented to it.

The plaintiff was the store manager at a “big box” electronics store in Woodbridge. Early in 2016, the employer sought to introduce a new policy that stated that, if an employee had a complaint that was not resolved internally, the appropriate step to launch a formal legal claim was to pursue arbitration, rather than to go to court.

The employer introduced the policy via something called an “eLearning module.” That module presented the terms of the arbitration policy and instructed the employee that, by continuing to work at the store, the employee was agreeing to be governed by the arbitration policy. The end of the module had an electronic checkbox where the employee would acknowledge having read the new policy.

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interview sampleSometimes, if you are pursuing a case alleging employment discrimination in the hiring process, the existence of an employer’s formal and objective system for selecting new hires can be a major hindrance to your case. Other times, though, it can actually help. In the recent case of two employment candidates in their 50s and 60s, the latter was true after they were able to prove that the employer passed over them to hire lower-ranking candidates who were in their 30s and 20s. The deviation from the ranking system was enough to give the men a viable claim of age discrimination, according to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

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law booksA sales employee for a large corporation lost her job at age 45 when her employer terminated her and replaced her with another employee who was only 38. Although the two employees’ age difference was less than 10 years, the fired employee still was able to go forward with her Age Discrimination in Employment Act case in federal court. The judge, in denying summary judgment to the employer, pointed out that previous rulings from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals (which includes New Jersey) have found that age gaps as small as five years can sometimes qualify as “sufficiently younger” and satisfy the ADEA, Bloomberg BNA reported.

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gavel and bookIf you’re familiar with federal age discrimination law, you’ll probably know that the “magic number,” so to speak, in terms of the group of age-protected employees is 40 years of age. So what happens when a group of workers, all of whom are over 50, pursue an Age Discrimination in Employment Act claim accusing their employer of discrimination specifically against 50+ employees? According to an important decision issued by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, the ADEA allows them to go forward with their disparate impact claim, even though they were only a sub-group of all age-protected employees.

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suitAn engineer’s age discrimination lawsuit against his former employer recently resulted in a large jury verdict in his favor. The jury found that the employer engaged in age discrimination in violation of federal law and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. After finding the employer liable, the jury awarded the laid-off engineer more than $51 million in damages, according to reports by the Courier Post.

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