Employment discrimination continues to be a major problem in New Jersey. Too many employers make biased decisions when it comes to hiring, firing, and other employment practices. In the ideal world, all employees would be judged solely on their skill and performance. Sadly, we have not yet reached that point. If you believe you have suffered an adverse employment action due to discrimination, you should quickly retain an experienced lawyer’s help. The Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi are available to help employees file a discrimination charge and seek necessary compensation. Please contact our law firm today to schedule a free consultation.
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 Under the Microscope
Employment discrimination covers different types of biased behavior at work. Our law firm has helped people who have suffered all types of discrimination, including:
- Disparate treatment. An employer will treat a worker unfairly because of the worker’s membership in a protected class. For example, they might fire, demote, or cut the pay of an employee because of her gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or other protected characteristic.
- Disparate impact. Sometimes, employers have general rules which impact one class of employees more heavily. A classic example is a job requirement that employees lift 50 pounds. This type of requirement is neutral on its face, but it might have a disparate impact by excluding more women than men from obtaining jobs. Any business practice or job requirement that has a disparate impact is illegal unless it is justified by business necessity.
- Retaliation for engaging in protected conduct. An employer cannot take an adverse employment action because a person reported illegal conduct, filed a workplace discrimination complaint, talked freely about their pay and benefits, or engaged in other protected conduct.
- Refusal to provide accommodation. An accommodation is a change in a job that allows someone with a disability to perform the essential functions. For example, an employee with impaired vision might request a larger computer monitor, or someone might need to leave for regular doctor’s appointments. An employer should work with an employee to find a reasonable accommodation but doesn’t need to provide one that causes an undue hardship.
NEW JERSEY AND FEDERAL LAWS AGAINST WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION
Many people are already aware that it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of:
- National Origin
- 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.
Examples of Adverse Employment Actions
Some people assume that workplace discrimination cases only apply to people being fired. But the law protects workers in any aspect of employment, such as:
- Refusing to hire a job applicant who is qualified
- Passing over an employee for a promotion
- Cutting pay or passing over an employee for a raise
- Denying employee training opportunities
- Moving an employee to a different location
- Demoting an employee
- Terminating an employee
- Refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee because of a disability
You probably are not 100% sure you were discriminated against. After all, few employers admit to having an improper motive when it comes to employment decisions. We recommend that you carefully record all communications and contact our law firm.
Protected Classes & New Jersey Employment Discrimination
Both disparate treatment and disparate impact are illegal under New Jersey and federal law if they affect members of a protected class. A protected class is one based on:
- Gender or gender expression
- Sexual orientation
- National origin
The main antidiscrimination law in the United States is Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. However, other laws have expanded the antidiscrimination protection to more classes. A major law is the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. These laws are also frequently interpreted by courts, which might expand the protected characteristics.
New legislation has also expanded protection from employment discrimination. For example, Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 made it illegal to discriminate against employees or job applicants based on genetic information.
If you suspect unfair treatment, you should quickly contact our New Jersey employment discrimination lawyer for a free consultation.
The Complaint Process
The complaint process will depend on which law you are filing a complaint under. If you are bringing a claim under federal law, you file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In most cases, you must file a charge with the EEOC before you can file a lawsuit in federal court.
If you proceed under state law, you have the option of filing a complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) or in Superior Court. Unfortunately, you cannot file in both at the same time.
Time limits apply. For the EEOC, you typically get 180 days to report discrimination, unless state or local antidiscrimination law also applies, in which case you typically get 300 days. These are short windows of time that pass quickly.
Once the EEOC receives your complaint, they will decide on next steps. They can request information from your employer and ask questions. They might even try to resolve the dispute by proposing mediation. If they find no discrimination, they will notify you, and you get 90 days to file a lawsuit.
Identifying where to file and which time limits apply is a confusing process for most people. Depending on your situation, you might benefit by filing immediately in court under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, whereas in other cases you might want to go through the administrative process. An experienced New Jersey employment discrimination attorney is a big help at determining the best course of action.
Compensation for Employment Discrimination
Holding an employer accountable for discrimination provides a well-deserved sense of justice. However, the primary purpose of filing a discrimination charge is to obtain compensation for damages suffered.
Each case is different. When we meet with clients, we will discuss possible compensation for employment discrimination:
- Back pay
- Front pay
- Pain and suffering damages
- Emotional distress damages
- Attorneys’ fees
- Court costs
- Punitive damages
You might also request equitable remedies, such as an injunction or job reinstatement. Please discuss your goals when meeting with your attorney.
NORTH JERSEY EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION LAWYERS FOR EMPLOYEES
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.
Speak with a New Jersey Employment Discrimination Lawyer
Employment discrimination is inexcusable, and our law firm is proud to help workers demand respectful treatment. For more information, please call the Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi to schedule a consultation at our Paramus, NJ office.
Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi LLC.
New Jersey Office:
66 NJ-17 #500,
Paramus, New Jersey 07652