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Settlement reached in age discrimination lawsuit

In this day and age, obtaining gainful employment in New Jersey is getting tougher by the minute. Unfortunately, keeping gainful employment in New Jersey is equally tough, particularly if you are facing age discrimination in a place of employment. Such is the case for a former New Jersey lifeguard who has now received a $50,000 settlement in an age discrimination case.

The 67-year-old lifeguard had worked for the Ocean City Beach Patrol for decades before this dispute. He alleged in his lawsuit that the beach patrol engaged in a "series of discriminatory and retaliatory acts" in order to drive him and other lifeguards considered "older" from working for the beach patrol. Ultimately, the city chose to settle with the lifeguard for $50,000 in order to avoid a trial. In addition, the settlement agreement includes no admission of guilt from any of the defendants. As the Ocean City Beach Patrol was under the employment of the Fire Department, defendants in this case included the city of Ocean City, several named fire department officials, and the Ocean City Beach Patrol director.

The man began work as a lifeguard with Ocean City in 1960. He left the patrol in 1968, but returned in 1988 to work summers regularly and at the age of 64 was named a senior guard in 2008. His lawsuit also alleges that older lifeguards in Ocean City were being forced into retirement through a number of employer retaliation tactics.

One such tactic included reduction in work days, a concern that would not only affect his salary that year, but his pension to come. The lifeguard also claimed that recruitment testing was geared to eliminate older candidates. After succeeding in many recruitment tests, the lifeguard was fired after failing one of the tests he claimed was redesigned in order to ensure his elimination from candidacy for employment.

Source: Ocean City Patch, "Ocean City Pays Lifeguard $50,000 in Secret Lawsuit Settlement," Douglas Bergen, Oct. 5, 2011

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