On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Mercer County.
King, Deighan and Bilder. The opinion of the court was delivered by Bilder, J.A.D.
[203 NJSuper Page 358] In this case we are asked to consider whether the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 et seq., (LAD) bars an employer and a labor union from bargaining for a multi-tiered salary schedule which operates to the detriment of older employees.*fn1 To put it another way, can they bargain for a
multi-tiered salary schedule which unintentionally results in the payment of a lesser salary to older employees? An employer, Trenton Board of Education (Board) and a union, Trenton Administrators and Supervisors Association (TASA), appeal from a judgment of the Law Division finding that they have discriminated against plaintiff employees, members of TASA, on account of their age in violation of the LAD and awarding damages to the individuals aggregating about $50,000. The separate appeals of each defendant were consolidated by an order of February 21, 1985.
Collective bargaining agreements between TASA and the Board have provided that employees receive annual additions to their salaries based on longevity (experience in the Trenton system, plus credited service outside the system) beginning in the 20th year, which we sometimes will refer to as increments. The contract in effect just prior to July 1, 1979 provided for annual increments of $400 beginning in the 20th year of service and additional increments of $200 commencing on the 35th and 40th year of service.
For the period commencing July 1, 1979, a new contract was negotiated between the defendants which provided for annual increments of $600 to be paid beginning the 20th year of service and additional $600 increments beginning the 25th, 30th, 35th and 40th years of service.
Following the salary guide which set forth the base salaries, the contract provided:
Longevity (experience in Trenton plus credited experiences outside of Trenton):