Discrimination in the workplace persists, despite state and federal laws prohibiting the practice. In fact, data from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shows 1,665 individuals in New Jersey filed complaints of discrimination in 2013 alone.
Employment discrimination can have a far-reaching and detrimental impact on an individual’s personal and professional life. You may have the right to recover compensation from a company or business owner who has discriminated against you. Compensatory damages, punitive damages, legal fees and other compensation may be available in a successful claim.
We respect the emotional and economical considerations associated with pursuing damages from an at-fault employer. We have provided information below to help you better understand your rights and options for taking legal action.
Who is protected under New Jersey’s anti-discrimination laws?
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) prohibits discrimination in such matters as employment, housing and lending. The LAD prohibits an employer from discriminating against an individual based on:
- skin color;
- nationality/country of origin;
- marital/domestic partner/civil union status;
- sexual orientation;
- AIDS/HIV status; and
- other genetic information.
Many of these types of discrimination also violate federal laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and numerous other acts regulated by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
What are the grounds for filing an employment discrimination claim?
You may have the right to file a discrimination claim if an employer violated the LAD by engaging in a discriminatory activity. Examples of illegal acts under the LAD:
- refusing to hire an applicant based on any of the protected classes outlined in the LAD (for instance, refusing to hire someone who is older than 50 years or of a particular racial background);
- firing an employee based on any of the protected classes outlined in the LAD;
- harassing an employee based on any of the classes protected under the LAD;
- committing acts of sexual harassment or intimidation; and
- distributing or displaying materials with a derogatory message or images regarding any of the LAD-protected classes (for example, circulating an email with an offensive joke about a particular ethnic group);
Other examples of actionable offenses include offering unequal pay to employees based on their status in a LAD-protected class or refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation for an employee with a disability. An attorney can examine the circumstances of your case to determine if an act or communication was in violation of state and federal anti-discrimination laws.
Can my employer retaliate against me for filing a discrimination complaint?
State laws, including the LAD, prohibit employers from using retaliation against an employee for such things as filing a sexual harassment or discrimination suit. Talk to your lawyer if your employer has threatened to fire you or reduce your pay based on your having filed an employment discrimination suit.
Who should I contact when I am ready to stand up for my rights?
If you believe you have grounds for an employment discrimination claim, you may schedule a confidential case consultation at our New Jersey offices. Call Dash Farrow LLP at 856-235-8300.