There 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.
Judith’s lawsuit laid out arguments that she was in her early 60s when terminated and that she was qualified to do her human resources management job and did it diligently but, nevertheless, was terminated and replaced with someone who was in her mid-40s.
Asserting all of these things is what’s known in the law as making a “prima facie” showing. Once you do that, the legal obligation shifts to the employer to provide a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for the action taken against you. After that, the burden shifts back to the employee to show that the stated reason was really just a cover for the true motivation of illegal discrimination.
Judith had enough evidence that, if believed by a jury, could allow her to win her age discrimination claim. When that happens, that means that the employer is not entitled to summary judgment on that discrimination claim and that you are entitled to proceed to trial. The evidence backing up Judith’s age discrimination claim included age-biased negative comments, the relative youth of all of the decision-makers (who were mostly between ages 30 and 40), and the alleged fact that the only other over-60 employee was a woman whom the employer forced to either retire or accept a part-time schedule.
If you have been harmed as a result of your employer’s age discrimination against you, talk to the knowledgeable New Jersey age discrimination attorneys at Phillips & Associates. Our attorneys have been providing diligent and effective representation to New Jersey workers for many years. Reach us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation and to find out how we can help you.
More blog posts:
Third Circuit Allows Employees to Go Forward with Age Discrimination Lawsuit Despite Employer’s Arbitration Policy, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, Sept. 19, 2017
What a Pennsylvania Employee’s Court Success Means for New Jersey Workers, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, Aug. 29, 2017