What Do the EEOC’s New ADEA Rules Mean for New York and New Jersey Employers?

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What Do the EEOC’s New ADEA Rules Mean for New York and New Jersey Employers?

by Ramon Rivera

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued a Final Rule amending the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). The law applies to New York and New Jersey private employers with 20 or more employees, state and local government employers, employment agencies, and labor organizations.

The ADEA prohibits practices that, although facially neutral with regard to age, have the effect of harming older workers more than younger workers (known as “disparate impact”), unless the employer can show that the practice is based on reasonable factors other than age (RFOA). The “Final Regulation on Disparate Impact and Reasonable Factors Other than Age” clarifies the parameters of the RFOA defense and amends the law to conform to two recent Supreme Court decisions. Those decisions held that while the plaintiff must identify the specific employment practice that caused the alleged disparate impact, the employer has the burden of proving an RFOA defense.

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