- New Jersey has eliminated a provision in its nondiscrimination law that allowed age discrimination in employment against workers older than 70, according to an Oct. 5 press release from the governor's office.
- In signing A681, Gov. Phil Murphy removed that provision and also raised and removed retirement age standards in government and education, respectively.
- "[Seventy] 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," Shirley Turner, a state senator, said in a statement.
Because federal law protects workers older than 40 from age discrimination by employers with 20 or more employees, "[t]he removal of the upper age limit [in New Jersey] is most significant for employers with less than 20 employees," Fisher Phillips attorneys wrote in a blog post for the firm. "They can no longer refuse to hire or promote an individual over the age of 70."
The attorneys recommended that employers revise any relevant policies or practices accordingly, but also noted that even if an employer is not directly affected, "this amendment will no doubt bring the concept of age discrimination to the forefront of the minds of workers and plaintiffs' attorneys alike — so it should serve as a good reminder for [you to] ensure your compliance efforts are up to date when it comes to age bias issues."
While age discrimination has been outlawed at the federal level for decades, it remains an "open secret" in the workplace, sources previously told HR Dive.
To avoid bias claims, attorneys and federal officials have recommended that employers review language in job postings for ageist dog whistles, carefully consider where openings should be advertised and offer training and accommodations as needed. Businesses also can provide anti-harassment training, maintain a harassment reporting mechanism and investigate all complaints diligently.