NJ Firm, University Face Discrimination Charges

A class-action suit has been filed against Quest Diagnostics charging the Madison, NJ-based firm with age discrimination practices.

According to the lawsuit, the company restructured its sales force in 2008 and since that time allegedly held its older employees to higher performance standards than its newer, younger workers. The suit alleges that the company held its older sales employees to unachievable quotas and that these quotas were not revised when economic conditions faltered. Instead, according to the suit, regular employee evaluations were conducted. Under-performing employees were put on three-month probation. Employees who could not meet quotas were given 30-days’ notice and, if performance did not improve within that time, the employees were fired. (1)

While only one plaintiff is involved with the suit at this time, at least 40 others have expressed similar experiences. It is up to the court to decide if the suit could be expanded to include more litigants. (1)

In a separate case, the NJ Supreme Court ruled that three female professors may continue with a lawsuit against Seton Hall University that alleges the University paid higher salaries to younger instructors and male professors.

The suit began in 2007 and resulted from a University report on the earnings of full-time faculty members. The report described the earnings according to school, rank, gender, and salary. The three professors filing the suit found that they were paid anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000 less than their male or younger counterparts.

The Supreme Court ruled that each payment of discriminatory wages constitutes a “renewed separable and actionable wrong.” However, since there is a two-year statute of limitations on the State’s anti-discrimination law, only some of the professors’ paychecks can be counted. The professors have been employed with the University for almost two decades. (2)

It has yet to be determined whether Seton Hall will settle the case or proceed to trial. (2)

Under NJ State law, it is illegal for an employer to harass or treat differently any employee because of age or gender when applying for a job, during the term of employment, and in cases of terminations or retirement, unless age or gender is essential to performing the job. (3)

(1) http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2010/11/lawsuit_against_quest_diagnost.html

(2) http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/11/nj_supreme_court_allows_wage_d.html

(3) http://www.state.nj.us/lps/dcr/downloads/fact_age.pdf

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