Phillips & Associates
Phillips & Associates
Phillips & Associates
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Men and women who serve or have served in the military have made many sacrifices. One of the sacrifices members of the military should not have to make is tolerating a workplace with discrimination and harassment. If you are serving or have served, and you are experiencing this type of workplace mistreatment, you may be entitled to a judgment and substantial compensation. You should get in touch with a knowledgeable New Jersey workplace discrimination lawyer right away to discuss your legal options.

K.K. allegedly was one of those service members who did have to endure such mistreatment. According to an nj.com report, he was a Marine who, after leaving military service, became a police officer. However, while serving on a force for a borough in Somerset County, he was on the receiving end of an extensive string of offensive comments and other workplace harassment, according to his lawsuit.

Allegedly, the police chief told K.K., who was injured while serving in Iraq and experienced PTSD as a result, after the latter had performed poorly on a shooting exercise, “if you put your gun in your mouth, you wouldn’t miss.” Again noting K.K.’s poor shooting performance, the chief questioned the quality of K.K.’s military service with alleged taunts such as “I thought Marines could shoot, what … kind of Marine are you?”

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For some jobs, a psychological evaluation may be a mandatory part of the application process. While mental fitness may be an important requirement for some jobs, the law does not allow an employer to use this process – or an employer’s outsourcing of this assessment to outside psychologists – as a means to dodge liability for violations of discrimination law. If you think an employer has done that to you, you should get in touch with a knowledgeable New Jersey employment discrimination lawyer right away.

A recent disability discrimination case from federal court shows how that potentially can happen. C.G., a police officer and a former Marine, was attempting to join the police force in Pittsburgh. He passed the written exam with flying colors. After that, though, he had to complete a psychological examination process and, when two of the three psychologists recommended not hiring C.G., he didn’t get the job.

C.G. had engaged in misconduct as a juvenile but, as his complaint noted, the department had hired others who had engaged in similar youthful misbehavior. The difference, according to C.G., was that he had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

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If your car needs a new timing belt, you need a trained and skilled auto mechanic. If you need an appendectomy, you need a trained and experienced surgeon. Similarly, if you’ve suffered discrimination at work, your legal case is not the right time to attempt a DIY project. You need the aid of a skilled legal advocate. Trying to “go it alone” can not only weaken parts of your case, it can lead to the commission of errors that eventually do fatal harm to your case. Your case is too important to put at risk, so make sure you act promptly in obtaining a knowledgeable New Jersey employment discrimination lawyer.

To back up that point, here is a disability discrimination case that makes for a real-life cautionary tale. The worker, G.W., worked at a mental health and drug rehab center until the center terminated his employment in September 2017.

A year later, G.W. sued in federal court. He alleged many claims, including violations of the Law Against Discrimination, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and the Family Leave Act.

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This spring there are multiple events that may hold substantial significance to trans people. As nj.com reported, March 31 marked the International Transgender Day of Visibility, which represented a day to highlight the contributions of trans people, while also putting a spotlight on the challenges they still face. Also, this June will mark the one-year anniversary of the important U.S. Supreme Court case that declared gender identity discrimination and sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace to be violations of Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act.

So, what does gender identity discrimination in the workplace look like? It actually can take many forms. The most obvious, of course, occurs when an employer refuses to hire you because you are trans, or when an employer fires you, demotes you, reduces your hours, or otherwise punishes you on the job once your employer becomes aware you are trans or are transitioning.

It also can take the form of an employer who refuses to accommodate your gender identity. This can include refusing to allow you to use the restroom facility that conforms to your gender identity, not updating your employment forms to indicate your gender identity, or a supervisor’s insistence on “deadnaming” you. (This is the act of addressing a trans person by the name that person had before transitioning.)

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Once you’ve decided that you need to undertake a sexual harassment lawsuit in New Jersey, there will be many more vital decisions you’ll have to make. Each choice may substantially impact how much compensation you receive or may affect whether or not your case gets to trial. Given the profound importance of these decisions, make sure you have the advice you need from an experienced New Jersey employment lawyer before you make those critical selections.

One of those choices is whether to litigate in state court or federal court. As a sexual harassment plaintiff, you might decide that you’d get a fairer hearing in state court and therefore pursue your case there. Whatever the reason, if you and your legal team have selected state court, there are likely very good reasons for it, so you may need to fight aggressively to keep your case in state court.

Here’s an example of what we mean. J.L., a woman who worked at a fast-food restaurant in Old Bridge, had a male co-worker who allegedly subjected her to multiple forms of harassment, including grabbing her buttocks, putting his hands on her shoulders to pin her down in a chair, and attempting to grab her genital area as he walked past.

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The law in New Jersey is frequently changing. One way changes occur is through case decisions by the Appellate Division court or the New Jersey Supreme Court. Another occurs when the state legislature decides that the law, as currently written, doesn’t reflect what the law should be, and enacts an amendment. These changes, whether via court ruling or legislative action, represent a key reason for having an experienced New Jersey employment lawyer on your side for your discrimination or harassment case. The right attorney can provide you with the benefit of both powerful legal experience and the most up-to-date knowledge of the law.

Back in 2019, one of those very important changes to statutory employment law occurred in New York. In October of that year, a critical amendment to that state’s Human Rights Law went into effect.

New York law, as modified by the 2019 bill, specifically says that “harassment need not be severe or pervasive in order for the employer to be liable.” This is a very substantial change that will make winning harassment cases much easier for harmed workers in New York in the future.

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“Reasonable.” The word can mean many different things. Google’s dictionary says that it means “fair and sensible,” “appropriate,” or something reflecting “sound judgment.” Here in New Jersey, the law requires employers to provide their pregnant workers with reasonable workplace accommodations. While the above descriptions reflect that “reasonable” is a subjective term, the law in this state sets some goalposts outside which employers may not stray when it comes to accommodating pregnant workers. If you’ve been discriminated against because of your pregnancy, that action may represent a violation of the law and may entitle you to recover compensation in court or through a settlement, so you should contact a New Jersey pregnancy discrimination lawyer right away to find out more about your options.

In the recent case of a North Jersey warehouse worker who was pregnant, the accommodation she received was essentially no accommodation at all. The woman worked in the warehouse as a “picker/packer.” In early April 2015, the woman gave her supervisor a note from her doctor that said that, as a result of the woman’s high-risk pregnancy, she needed frequent bathroom breaks and she needed to avoid lifting objects weighing more than 20 pounds.

The woman asserted that she never had to lift heavy items weighing more than 20 pounds in her regular job, but she gave the employer the note as a precautionary measure so that her employer knew she had that limitation and did not move her into a position that required heavy lifting. In fact, according to the worker, she continued in her regular job for a week after submitting the doctor’s note, and at no time during that week’s work did she ever have to lift anything weighing more than 20 pounds.

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidelines state that sexual harassment can take many forms. It can be an unwanted sexual advance. It can be a request for sexual favors or punishment for failing to provide those favors. Sexual harassment can be subtle. These subtle forms can be just as harmful as egregious forms to an employee who fears losing her job if she doesn’t “play along.” If you’ve found yourself in that position, don’t suffer in silence. Instead, reach out without delay to contact an experienced New Jersey sexual harassment attorney to learn more about the legal options available to you.

Many people probably call to mind a certain image when they think of sexual harassment. The famous movie Disclosure turns 27 this year. In that film, Michael Douglas’s character is punished at work for rejecting the overt sexual advances of his supervisor (played by Demi Moore.)

As a worker in New Jersey, it is important to recognize that you do not necessarily need to prove something as severe as what happened to that fictional character to have a viable case of sexual harassment in this state. The sexual harassment case of B.B., which was settled recently according to a nj.com report, is a good example.

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In any kind of civil lawsuit, it is important to recognize what you need at each phase of the process. What do I need in my complaint? What do I need in my opposition to a motion to dismiss? What proof do I need at trial? At each of these critical junctures (and throughout the process) of your discrimination case, it pays to have an experienced New Jersey employment attorney on your side who is well-versed in all the requirements of the law and can guide you along the way.

Recently, a federal ruling from the appeals court whose decisions control cases filed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware provided an important clarification when it comes to federal age discrimination cases and what you, as the discriminated employee, have to allege in your complaint.

Z.M., the employee in the case, was a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who agreed to a position with a Pennsylvania hospital in December 2016. Less than one year later, the hospital’s new owners “abruptly terminated” the surgeon, telling him that “the hospital ‘was moving in a different direction and [Z.M.’s] services were no longer needed.’” In place of Z.M., the hospital hired a pair of surgeons, each of whom was younger than Z.M.

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If you’ve been in the workforce long enough, you’ve probably found yourself in a position where you felt like your employer expected you to make actual miracles happen… perhaps even weekly or daily. Feeling that pressure is one thing, but when your employer gives you patently unrealistic performance targets, that’s another thing entirely. That’s especially true if your employer uses your failure to meet these impossible goals as the basis to fire you because of your age, race, gender, etc. When those things happen, your employer may have engaged in impermissible discrimination and an experienced New Jersey employment discrimination attorney may be able to help you in obtaining substantial compensation.

The law actually gives employers wide latitude in setting performance goals for employees, but that wide latitude is not completely a blank check.

The recent age discrimination case of a medical sales professional working for a major international pharmaceutical company is a good example. By 2010, R.R. was a sales director for the company. By 2016, R.R. and his team had begun to fail to meet sales quotas, and R.R.’s supervisor placed him on a “performance improvement plan.”

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