Can My Governmental Employer In New Jersey Force Me To Retire When I Reach A Particular Age?
No, your governmental employer in New Jersey may not force you to retire when you reach a certain age.
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (the “NJLAD”) renders it an unlawful employment practice, or, as the case may be, an unlawful discrimination, for a public or private employer, because of the race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, affectional or sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy or breastfeeding, sex, gender identity or expression, disability or atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait of any individual, or because of the liability for service in the Armed Forces of the United States or the nationality of any individual, or because of the refusal to submit to a genetic test or make available the results of a genetic test to an employer, to refuse to hire or employ or to bar or to discharge or to require to retire, unless justified by lawful considerations other than age, from employment that individual or to discriminate against that individual in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment.
In particular, under the NJLAD and effective October 5, 2021, governmental employers in New Jersey, including state, county, and municipal employers, do not have the authority to enforce mandatory retirement for their employees at a certain age.
In this respect, the NJLAD’s goal is to protect employees who might otherwise be forced into retirement before they are ready.
Under the NJLAD, public employers are required to grant employees the opportunity to work later in their careers as long as they can adequately perform their official responsibilities.
Beginning October 5, 2021, Section 5 of the NJLAD provides that in a claim of unlawfully being required to retire because of age, an employee has available all of the remedies provided by any applicable law, instead of — as that statutory section previously provided — being restricted to filing a complaint with the New Jersey Attorney General and having relief be limited to reinstatement with back pay and interest.
Further, under the NJLAD and beginning on October 5, 2021, institutions of higher education in New Jersey are not permitted to require tenured employees at public and private colleges and universities to retire at the age of 70.
Effective October 5, 2021, the NJLAD implements a high standard for a public employer with regard to enforcing a mandatory retirement age. In order to require workers (whether tenured or not) to retire upon the attainment of a particular age, a governmental employer in New Jersey must show that the worker “is unable to adequately perform the [worker’s] duties.”
Employees who are unlawfully required to retire because of age may file suit under the NJLAD to recover relief including, but not limited to, reinstatement, back pay, front pay, emotional distress damages, punitive damages, interest, and reasonable attorneys’ fees.
If you are an executive or a professional in the Manhattan City metro area and you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated, that you’ve been denied salary, bonuses, commissions, or other wages that are owed to you, or that your employer has failed or refused to reasonably accommodate your disability, call Manhattan City Wrongful Termination Attorney David S. Rich at (212) 209-3972 today.