Skip to Main Content


dots dots



Employment discrimination, which is also referred to as “workplace discrimination,” occurs when an employer engages in unlawful bias against a current or prospective employee. Though New Jersey is an “at-will employment” state, meaning employers are generally free to terminate employees at their discretion, state and federal laws still require employers to refrain from discriminating against workers or job applicants on the basis of age, race, gender, and numerous other attributes. This requirement pertains to hiring, firing, recruiting, compensating, testing, promoting, demoting, assigning, training, and offering benefits to employees and job applicants.

Professional success should be determined by skill, ability, and job performance – not by an employee’s religious beliefs, physical appearance, or personal background. If you believe that you were demoted, fired, suspended, unfairly compensated, passed over for a promotion, turned down from a job, or excluded from receiving job-related benefits because of discrimination, your employer may have knowingly violated one or more employee protection laws.

If this describes your situation, you should review your legal options with an experienced employment attorney. Respresenting employees in wrongful termination lawsuits throughout the Northern New Jersey area, our Paramus employment lawyers are known for our track record of success in challenging cases and can fight aggressively to protect and exercise your rights under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other laws protecting workers. For a free consultation concerning employment law in New Jersey, call our law office immediately to speak with our employment law attorneys.


Employment discrimination can take many forms, some of which are more glaring or obvious than others. Even if you are not quite certain as to whether you were discriminated against, we invite you to contact our law offices for an assessment of your situation.

Workplace discrimination is unfair treatment based not on an employee’s capabilities or performance, but rather, his or her:

  • Membership in a “protected class.” To use just one of many examples, an employee or job applicant age 4o or older is in a protected class under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which prohibits age-based employment discrimination, or “ageism.”
  • Participation in “protected conduct.” Protected conduct includes serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, filing a complaint concerning illegal or fraudulent acts by an employer, and filing a complaint concerning workplace discrimination.

It is unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees and job applicants on either basis. This includes:

  • Asking inappropriate or illegal questions during a job interview, such as whether an applicant is married, has children, or celebrates particular holidays.
  • Demoting an employee.
  • Excluding an employee from fringe benefits or retirement benefits for which he or she otherwise qualifies.
  • Passing over an employee for a pay raise or promotion.
  • Paying a lower salary or hourly wage than is paid to another employee with equivalent duties and experience.
  • Prohibiting an employee from using workplace facilities, such as an on-site gym.
  • Refusing to hire a job applicant who is otherwise qualified for the position.


Many people are already aware that it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • National Origin
  • Race
  • Religion (“Creed”)
  • Sexual Orientation

Unfortunately, these are among the most pervasive and frequently litigated forms of employment discrimination, not only in New Jersey but throughout the United States. What is also unfortunate is that there are many lesser-known, additional ways an employer can also discriminate against a current or potential employee. To provide several examples, other forms of employment discrimination may include:

  • Discrimination based on a current or former domestic partnership or civil union.
  • Discrimination based on a person’s gender identity or gender expression, such as identifying as transgendered.
  • Discrimination based on a person’s genetic information, meaning “information about genes, gene products, or inherited characteristics.”
  • Discrimination based on having an “atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait,” which includes cystic fibrosis trait, sickle cell trait, and Tay-Sachs trait.
  • Discrimination based on pregnancy.
  • Discrimination based on testing positive for HIV/AIDS.
dots dots img

The foregoing forms of discrimination are prohibited by the comprehensive New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD). Additional laws enacted at both the state and federal levels may afford added protections, depending on factors like how many employees work for the employer, and whether the employer is public or private. In addition to LAD, other anti-discrimination laws that may impact your case include:

  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
  • Civil Rights Act of 1991 (CRA)
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)
  • Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA)
  • New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA)
  • New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA)
  • Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
  • Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)

Filing a Complaint

When it comes to workplace discrimination, there’s a process you must follow. You cannot simply file a lawsuit. You must first file a charge, or complaint, with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You can file a complaint with the EEOC if any of the following have occurred:

  • You have been treated unfairly on the job because of your race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age (age 40 or older), or genetic information. This includes pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
  • You were harassed at work for any of the above reasons.
  • You were denied a reasonable accommodation, or change in the workplace, due to your religious beliefs, disability, pregnancy, or childbirth.
  • You have been treated unfairly or harassed for making a complaint about job discrimination or assisting with a related investigation or lawsuit.

You must file a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC before you can file a job discrimination lawsuit against your employer. Keep in mind that there are strict time limits for doing so.  You typically have just 180 days to report discrimination to the EEOC, although this is extended to 300 days if your complaint is also covered by a local or state anti-discrimination law. Therefore, you should contact the EEOC immediately if you believe your employer is discriminating against you. 

EEOC services are free and do not require a lawyer, although it may be in your best interest to hire an employment law attorney. Once you file a job discrimination complaint with the EEOC, they will investigate your case. They may gather documents, interview your employer, or offer you and the employer the resolution of the case through mediation, which involves a third party.

If no violation is found, the EEOC will close the case. You then have 90 days to file your own lawsuit if you wish to do so.

If the EEOC determines that there was workplace discrimination involved, they will issue a “Letter of Determination” to you and your employer. The EEOC will then work with both of you to resolve the situation. If you agree to a solution, you waive your right to go to court. If a solution is not found, the EEOC may or may not take your case to court. 

Examples of Discrimination in the Workplace

Discrimination in the workplace can happen in many forms. Some examples include:

  • Not getting hired.
  • Being passed over for a promotion.
  • Enduring inappropriate comments.
  • Getting fired for being a member of a protected class.
  • Preferring a candidate based solely on personal characteristics.
  • Denying a candidate based solely on personal characteristics.
  • Denying an employee certain compensation or benefits.
  • Denying disability leave, retirement options, or maternity leave.
  • Terminating an employee based on a personal characteristic or attribute.
  • Inappropriate or off-color comments to an employee based on personal characteristics.
  • Taking away shifts or reducing pay without a professional reason to do so.
  • Exhibiting favoritism during promotions and company restructuring instead of promoting based on professional merit.


Employment discrimination can have dire financial consequences, not only for the victims who are directly impacted, but also any dependents or loved ones whom they are trying to support. Multiple generations of an entire family can be plunged into financial hardship when a skilled employee, or well-qualified job applicant, is unfairly denied opportunities, compensation, or job benefits on the basis of his or her skin color, religious beliefs, sexual preference, country of origin, or other personal traits.

If you suspect that bias, rather than actual performance or ability, was the reason you were fired, demoted, looked over, underpaid, or otherwise affected detrimentally, a New Jersey workplace discrimination lawyer can work with you to identify an efficient and strategic course of legal action. Depending on the circumstances, you may have a claim under the Civil Rights Act, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, or other laws against employment discrimination. To arrange a free consultation with a skilled employment law attorney concerning a workplace discrimination claim in New Jersey, contact our employment attorneys today.


Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi LLC.

New Jersey Office:

66 NJ-17 #500,

Paramus, New Jersey 07652

dots dots