In Resua v. BCB Bancorp Inc., 2016 WL 3189655 (N.J. App. Div. Jun. 9, 2016), the Appellate Division dismissed a class action complaint asserting age discrimination under New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination ("NJLAD") premised on a bank's offering of personal checking accounts to persons over the age of sixty with more favorable terms than ordinary checking accounts.
In their Complaint, the named plaintiffs identified five different types of "personal checking accounts" that the bank offered to individuals over the age of sixty that the parties agreed contained more favorable terms than the ordinary checking account available to all customers of the bank.
In response, the bank moved to dismiss the Complaint, arguing that NJLAD's provisions concerning discrimination relating to banking services did not preclude a financial institution from considering the age of its customers in offering products and services. The trial court agreed with the bank's interpretation of NJLAD and dismissed the Complaint.
On appeal, the Appellate Division affirmed the trial court's dismissal of the Complaint, noting that N.J.S.A. 10:5-12(i) "conspicuously omit[s] `age' in describing the members of the protected class in the area of banking activities." Thus, the Appellate Division reasoned, the plaintiffs could not rely on NJLAD's catch-all provision to override the Legislature's decision to omit age as a protected class from subsection (i) concerning banking services. The Appellate Division also noted that the challenged accounts "promote[d] the salutary policy of encouraging the sound management of financial resources to a population of consumers entering what is often a transitional period of life, which often includes retirement."