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Monday, July 2, 2018

My Boss Is Trying to Force Me Out: Experienced NJ Workers Afraid to Report Discrimination on 50th Anniversary of ADEA

This year brings the 50th Anniversary of the The Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The ADEA was signed into law in December 1967 and took effect in June 1968, 50 years ago. In spite of this long history, a US governmental agency which conducted a recent study on age discrimination in employment, issued a report that in spite of federal and state laws that prohibit age discrimination, approximately 97% percent of employees who experienced age discrimination on the job never reported the discrimination to their employer nor to any government agency.

The release of this shocking statistic however does not come as shocking news to many older New Jersey employees who regularly may be held to a higher standard, assigned heavier workloads, and receive lower wages than their younger and less experienced co-workers.

The results of this study also found that older workers are still stigmatized by unfounded assumptions about age and ability in spite of the fact that statistically older workers today are healthier and working and living longer and are far more educated than older workers of past generations.

The 1960's cultural civil rights movement brought changes in the law to promote equal treatment for minorities and older employees. The passage of the ADEA was an important part of this cultural movement, legislation designed to promote equal treatment for older workers.

Since the ADEA took effect in 1968, one of the major changes in the demographic of the American workforce is the increase in the percentage of older workers. During the last 25 years, from 1992 to 1917, the percentage of workers in the United States workforce who were age 55 and over doubled.

According to the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, US workers who were age 55 and older comprised 12 percent of the total labor force in 1992. By 2017, workers age 55 and older comprised over 24 percent of the labor force.

According to a US Census Bureau report released three months ago, the US Census Bureau projects that the year 2030 will reveal an important demographic change that will be a turning point in our country’s history. By 2030, all baby boomers (those born in the years 1946 to 1964 by popular definitions) will be older than age 65. What this translates into demographically is that that 1 in every 5 US residents will be age 65 or older in twelve years from now.

As there will be an increase in the overall percentage of older workers, discrimination based on age may become more prevalent as businesses may scramble to have a “youthful image” branding by seeking to employ a larger percentage of younger workers, or because they under-value both life and work experience as being a plus in synchronization with their business goals, and have misconceptions about the abilities of more experienced and older workers. Fearing lawsuits, some employers may hesitate to fire the older and more experienced workers outright, but will make their jobs “less friendly” to them, by denying training and promotions offered to younger, less experienced workers, and by holding older workers to a higher standard and assigning them to less prestige tasks with a heavier workload than given to younger inexperienced workers. While one disparate treatment alone may be insufficient for a successful age claim, there may come a threshold for every worker who experiences disparate treatment, to believe that his work environment has become hostile for no other reason than age.

If You Are Thinking of Simply Resigning

If you are thinking of simply resigning because you think your employer is discriminating against you because of age, you should contact an attorney experienced in employment law before you do so, to explore your legal options in the safest way for you.

What You Can Do

I am an aggressive and compassionate employment law attorney who is experienced in successfully representing women and men in age discrimination lawsuits. If you find yourself in a situation where you think your employer is discriminating against you because of your age, or if you are thinking of resigning, or think you will be fired, or have been fired, it is important that you consult with an attorney who is experienced in discrimination.

If you are being subjected to such unlawful workplace discrimination, contact Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law today for a free consultation. I accept discrimination cases from all over New Jersey.

New Jersey employment attorney, Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law serves clients throughout the state, including Bergen, Middlesex, Essex, Hudson, Monmouth, Ocean, Union, Camden, Passaic, and Morris Counties with locations in Southern, Central, Western and Northern NJ to meet with clients.

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