TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce’s bill expanding age discrimination protections for seniors 70 and older was unanimously advanced by the Assembly today.
“Some seniors have to keep working because of New Jersey’s high cost of living, while others just find their careers very rewarding. Either way, their age shouldn’t hold them back,” said DeCroce (R-Morris). “Unfortunately, the current exceptions to the age discrimination protections on the books are discriminatory and hurt employees who want to stay in the workforce past age 70.”
Under DeCroce’s bill (A681), public employers would no longer be permitted to force public employees to retire at a certain age under a law that allows them to do so if they can show retirement age relates to the employment in question. Additionally, higher education institutions would not be allowed to require tenured employees to retire at 70 years old. Employers would also be prohibited from refusing to hire or promote a person solely because a person is over age 70.
“Current and potential employees should be evaluated on their skill sets, performance history and credentials – not the date on their birth certificates” said DeCroce.
According to AARP-NJ, workers 65 and older are the fastest growing labor pool. Workers who are 50 and older will make up 35 percent of the workforce by 2022. The U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey data shows more than 21 percent of adults in the state over 65 are currently working.
The bill does not make changes to the New Jersey Constitution, which includes mandatory retirement for Supreme Court justices and some other judges upon reaching age 70, and Police and Firemen’s Retirement System members.