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Vainieri Huttle & McKnight Bill to Expand Law Prohibiting Age Discrimination Passes Assembly

(TRENTON) – Seeking to strengthen current New Jersey law to extend protections against age discrimination in the workplace, the full Assembly on Thursday voted 71-0 to approve legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Angela McKnight (D-Hudson).

The bill (A-681) would prohibit governmental employers from requiring retirement at a certain age; bar employers from refusing to hire someone for the sole reason that they are over 70 years old; lift limitations on employees seeking claims of unlawfully being required to retire, so that they may access all available remedies under the law; and prohibit higher education institutions from requiring tenured employees to retire at age 70.

Despite federal and state employment protections based on age, New Jersey still has certain laws that permit discrimination. This bill aims to address several of those laws in repealing provisions that allow employers to discriminate against older workers.

The measure’s sponsors released the following joint statement:

“Not every worker has the luxury of retiring at age 65. Some will still need to work well into their golden years to be able to live independently. Others may simply want to keep working for their own personal fulfillment.

“In any case, older workers should be able to retire by their own volition, not because an employer forced them out solely because of their age. This discriminatory practice furthers unfounded assumptions about age and ability, and restricts opportunities for older adults in the workforce who may still need a source of income.

“This legislation is long overdue. It’s time to update our State laws to fully prohibit age discrimination in the workplace and open doors for older workers to stay employed.”

The bill now goes to the Senate for further review.