By: Cristina N. Hyde, JD
On October 5, 2021, Governor Murphy signed legislation amending portions of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) to establish a clear prohibition of ageism in the workplace. Acknowledging that people are living and working longer, and the value of their knowledge and experience, A681 (P.L.2021, c.248) expands protections afforded to workers who are 70 years old or older in four important ways:
- It repeals provisions permitting a government employer to require retirement when an employee attains a particular age if that employer can show “that the retirement age bears a manifest relationship to the employment in question.”
- It repeals provisions permitting employers to refuse to promote or hire workers because they are more than 70 years old.
- It amends provisions to expand available remedies for victims of age discrimination to include all of the remedies provided by any applicable law.
- It repeals language that historically allowed institutions of higher education to mandate retirement of tenured employees at 70 years old.
Overall, A681 is welcome news for our aging population of skilled and experienced workers who want to work past a traditional retirement age. It ensures a dignified retirement by choice rather than by force. However, employers should review their policies and procedures, particularly where mandatory retirement is concerned.
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