“As in many places around the country, New Jersey’s workforce is aging, and we need to be proactive in protecting those older workers against age discrimination,” said Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, a prime sponsor of the bill.
Several other advocates of the law commented, “70 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,” and “[e]very worker deserves to be judged on how well they do their job, never on their age. The reality is that our workforce is getting older, and people are working longer.”
The new law closes a loophole that requires some government workers in the state to retire once they hit a certain age. It also amended the current law to give older employees protection from being let go because of their age.
Specifically, the law extends the NJLAD’s protections against age discrimination by:
The new law leaves intact the mandatory retirement age of 70 for Supreme Court justices and state judges, and it does not change anything for Police and Firemen’s Retirement System members.
Although this law may not have as much of an impact on the private sector as it will have on government employers, the increased damages should be a concern to all employers. They must continue to make decisions based on actual performance factors and not just perceptions about an aging employee.