Paramus, NJ

Gender Discrimination Lawyer

What Constitutes Gender Discrimination in New Jersey?

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) sets out protections for gender discrimination in workplaces throughout New Jersey. First, it is important to understand what categories are protected under the concept of “gender.” Gender is sometimes used as a catch-all term rather than a discrete term with a well-defined meaning. In the New Jersey LAD, both gender identity and gender expression are protected, encompassing a broad protected class under the umbrella of “gender.” In addition, sex is also a protected class. This means that it is illegal discrimination if you face mistreatment because of the following, among other issues:

  • Your gender identity (actual or perceived),
  • The way you express your gender identity,
  • The way you dress,
  • The way you cut your hair,
  • Makeup or jewelry (or the lack of makeup or jewelry),
  • Your non-binary gender,
  • Your biological sex,
  • Your status as trans or non-binary,
  • Your desire to undergo sex-confirmation/sex-reassignment surgery.

These sex and gender protections apply to all. That means that if you are harassed for being a cisgendered male, a trans female, or a non-binary individual, you are equally protected under the law.

It is also important to understand what exactly constitutes “discrimination.” In most cases, your sex, gender, or gender expression should not be used as a factor in making employment decisions. If your gender, sex, or gender expression is used as a factor in any of the following, you could be the victim of discrimination:

  • The decision to hire you,
  • The decision to fire or transfer you,
  • Determining your wages,
  • The decision to give you a raise,
  • Availability of employment benefits,
  • Access to employee rights,
  • Determining job responsibilities.

An even more personal and tragic experience that you may face at work is bullying or harassment based on your gender. If your employer, supervisor, or even co-workers say rude or mean things about your sex, your status as trans or non-binary, or your gender expression, it could constitute harassment or discrimination.

In some cases, discrimination is legal. If there is a non-discriminatory reason for certain policies (e.g. banning open-toed shoes or heels for safety reasons), it may not be illegal discrimination to force people to conform to requirements that clash with their gender identity or expression. Additionally, if your gender is a “bona fide occupational qualification,” e.g. for an acting role, you may be legally denied a job if you do not fit their qualifications.

attorney usmaan sleemi
Usmaan Sleemi
Usmaan Sleemi

How Do I Sue for Gender Discrimination in NJ?

To make a claim for illegal sex or gender discrimination in New Jersey, you file the claim through the New Jersey court system. Since the Law Against Discrimination is a New Jersey law, your case should be filed and heard in a New Jersey State court. There are other, federal laws that also create protections from gender discrimination, and claims under those laws would be filed in a federal court in New Jersey instead. However, the New Jersey laws create stronger gender protections. Talk to an attorney about how to file your case if you are unsure what to do.

You can succeed in a claim for gender discrimination if you can show that your employer used your gender as a factor in making a negative employment decision. This may be shown by looking at their history of other practices with people in similar situations. For instance, a trans female who was denied a job despite having qualifications similar to cis females who were hired to perform the same job, it becomes apparent that gender identity may have been a factor in denying the job.

In many cases, your employer will fight the claims against them. One tool they use is to give an alternate reason for the employment decision, e.g. by pointing to excessive lateness or a minor rule violation. However, courts and juries may see right through these pretextual claims. If you can show that they are simply making excuses, and gender was the true reason for the decision, you can still succeed on your claims.

Gender Discrimination Lawyer Offering Free Consultations in Paramus, NJ

If you were harassed or discriminated against in the workplace because of your sex, gender identity, or gender expression, talk to an attorney today. This kind of discrimination – and any discrimination – is unacceptable and may entitle you to claim compensation for lost wages or benefits you should have been entitled to. These kinds of cases are often difficult and require the help of an experienced employment lawyer. For a free consultation on your case, contact the Paramus gender discrimination lawyers at the Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi today at 973-453-4060.


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Law Office of Usmaan Sleemi

New Jersey Office:
90 E Halsey Rd,
Suite 309,
Parsippany, New Jersey 07054

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