The scenario is probably all too familiar for some workers. You work hard to break into your chosen field and then to build a successful career. Then, after having done that, you have the rug pulled from beneath you when your employer decides to replace you with someone younger. Maybe the employer did it because of the replacement’s more youthful appearance or because the replacement was cheaper. Either way, you may have been the victim of impermissible age discrimination and may be able to take action through the courts. Don’t let time run out on you; be sure to contact an experienced New Jersey age discrimination attorney without delay to discuss your legal options.
As noted above, there may be many underlying reasons for age discrimination. Sometimes it is financial. Other times, especially for women in the public eye, the reason may be simply related to physical appearance and the perceived greater business benefit from putting a younger female face before the public.
Two New Jersey women were involved in a high-profile lawsuit and settlement, reported by the New York Times, that implicated the latter set of issues.
The pair were among a group of five female reporters at a New York news channel who sued. The women alleged in their federal lawsuit that, after a change in ownership in 2016, the news channel began working to replace them. Under the new ownership, the women were “blatantly marginalized” and “cast aside.” Late last year, they were able to arrive at a successful settlement of their claims.
The reporters, whose ages were 61, 50, 49, 44 and 40 when they sued, were allegedly caught in the sort of discriminatory trap that happens to many women in certain highly visible jobs. As one reporter told the Times, “Men age on TV with a sense of gravitas, and we as women have an expiration date.”
Here in New Jersey, both the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act protect workers from discrimination based on their age. While the reporters pursued their claims under New York law, evidence like theirs could be the sort of proof that could give you a very strong age discrimination case under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination or under a federal law claim in New Jersey.
The Law Against Discrimination, for example, prohibits employers from discriminating based on age when it comes to making decisions regarding job assignments, assigning pay levels, employee benefits or “other terms, conditions or privileges of employment.” The law also bars employers from firing or demoting you because of your age.
The proof you need can come from many different sources
Evidence that might support a winning age discrimination claim can take multiple forms. It might include emails with inappropriate age-related jokes. It might include proof that you were being excluded from work-related events, like training sessions, meetings, and after-hours events, or it might be another type of marginalization.
Anything that shows that you were being targeted for adverse employment action based on your age is something that may further strengthen your case. In the reporters’ case, the employer allegedly reduced the women’s airtime and did not include them in advertising campaigns. These are potentially viable types of adverse employment actions.
Additionally, the employer allegedly groomed “literal replacements” for the plaintiffs. According to the complaint, these five doppelgangers outwardly were conspicuously similar to the five plaintiffs, except that they were much younger. The alleged “replacement” for the 50-year-old reporter, who was a blonde Caucasian woman, was a 36-year-old blonde Caucasian woman. The alleged “replacement” for the 49-year-old reporter, a dark-haired Latina woman, was a 37-year-old dark-haired Latina woman. The alleged “replacement” for the 44-year-old reporter, who was Asian-American, was an under-40 Asian-American woman. The alleged “replacement” for the 40-year-old reporter, who was Caucasian with light brown hair, was a 26-year-old woman who was Caucasian with light brown hair. Evidence like this potentially can be very powerful in your New Jersey age discrimination case.
When you, as a worker over 40, find yourself being pushed aside, marginalized, or flat-out terminated in favor of someone younger, you have the right to pursue legal action. Make sure you are armed with the powerful legal representation you need. Reach out to the experienced age discrimination attorneys at Phillips & Associates and put the power of our office to work for you. Contact us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation.