Phillips & Associates
Phillips & Associates
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Certain employment cultures place an outsized value on refusing to report misconduct by one’s colleagues to higher command or upper supervisors. Those that do report may be at extreme risk of becoming targets within these insular cultures. Law enforcement can be one of those workplaces. An officer who reports his/her fellow officers risks being tarred as a “rat.” This is especially problematic for female officers, as many of these police departments are also male-dominated workplaces prone to sexual harassment. If you’ve suffered sexual harassment in your police job, you owe it to yourself to contact an experienced New Jersey sexual harassment lawyer and find out what steps you can take.

A sexual harassment case from Hudson County allegedly involved a distinct example of this kind of workplace in action. The plaintiff, S.M., was a female officer with the Emergency Services Unit (ESU) of a local police department.

The harassment allegedly began when a lieutenant began stating that the officer’s direct supervisor was her “boyfriend.” According to the complaint, after  S.M.’s protestations, the lieutenant’s harassment only got worse. Other officers told S.M.that the lieutenant had also made comments to the supervisor, asserting that the lieutenant “hoped” S.M. was providing “real good” sexual favors.
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Even here in 21st Century New Jersey, race discrimination in workplaces persists. One form of discrimination that crops up too often is grossly improper attempts at “humor.” Despite what some may say, lynching “jokes” simply are never funny and they have the potential to inflict massive harm upon Black workers in that workplace. Whether it was the N-word, a noose, a monkey image, a lynching joke, or some other discriminatory joke or comment, it’s not something you should have to put up with at work. Get in touch with an experienced New Jersey race discrimination lawyer to protect yourself and your rights.

The recent settlement of a race discrimination case from South Jersey is yet another example. As reported by nj.com, L.J., the plaintiff in the case, was a worker with the parks department of a township in Gloucester County. L.J. was also an African-American man who allegedly endured, during his employment with the parks department, a relentless onslaught of racially discriminatory comments at work.

According to the employee’s complaint, the comments included references to his propensity to steal (solely due to his race,) usage of the racially offensive “boy,” and statements that L.J. (as a Black man) looked “like someone in Philadelphia with his hood on [who] was looking for rape.” Additionally, the man’s coworkers allegedly made comments about lynching, making reference to placing a chain around L.J.’s neck and “letting him swing.”

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Women face many challenges in the workplace. Studies show that people will attribute greater confidence, competence, reliability, and personability to women who wear makeup and subscribe to certain other “feminine” beauty standards. While the law cannot control what a person on the street thinks, it can control how your employer behaves and, if you have been punished at work (whether explicitly or implicitly) because of the appearance choices you made, your employer may have engaged in impermissible discrimination. Get in touch with an experienced New Jersey sex discrimination to talk about the legal options you may have.

The evidence you need in a case like this need not be explicit; even just indirect proof can potentially allow you to present your case to a jury. For example, there’s V.E., the plaintiff in a recent Title VII sex discrimination lawsuit. J.H., a manager in the woman’s office, allegedly engaged in various inappropriate behaviors. According to V.E., the manager included “very ’racey videos’ at the end of team meetings.” The woman also gave the court text message exchanges with a co-worker where that co-worker stated that the manager “seems to be ok w/ the blondes,” V.E., who was a Latina in her mid-40s, also provided testimony that the manager hired women “with a particular appearance.”

This was enough proof to defeat the employer’s motion for a summary judgment. One of the employer’s key arguments was that the employment action about which V.E. complained was actually gender-neutral. The court, however, ruled that the evidence V.E. had provided could “support the inference that [the manager’s] ostensibly gender-neutral conduct was” really based on sex.

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For a great many people, religion is a deeply intense, very personal, and vitally important part of their lives. To foster that, both federal and New Jersey law protect workers when their religious practice intersects with their employment. An employer who uses the threat of (or actually imposes) an adverse employment action because you engaged in a religious practice is an employer who may have violated the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) and may owe you compensation.  If that has happened to you, you should get in touch with an experienced New Jersey religious discrimination lawyer about your situation.

D.R., a general manager for a multinational consumer goods company who worked at the company’s North American headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, was someone who alleged that that kind of religious discrimination happened to him, according to a New York Post report.

In 2019, the manager, who is Jewish, sought out his supervisor in advance of two of his religion’s high holy days — Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur — seeking approval of time off from work. According to D.R.’s lawsuit, the supervisor told him that “he could not take off for Rosh Hashanah and probably not for Yom Kippur as well.”

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Back in 1994, a popular singer named Aaliyah released a music album entitled “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number.” The title was a subtle reference to the singer’s youth, as she was only 15. Today, lots of people embracing this same mindset come from the opposite side of the age spectrum. These older individuals recognize that their age does not define them, and they seek employment where they are judged by the merits of their work, not solely by “that number.” With the passage of a new law, older workers age 70+ now have more protections than even against age discrimination in this state. If you think you’ve been denied a promotion, denied employment, or otherwise harmed because of your age, get in touch with an experienced New Jersey age discrimination lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Here in New Jersey, the average life expectancy is 80.7 years, making the Garden State the ninth highest-ranking state in that category. In certain areas of North Jersey, it’s higher still, with some Bergen County communities along the Hudson River averaging nearly 87 years!

The point is, people are living longer… and they are also working longer. That means that many people in their 70s find themselves continuing to pursue their careers instead of retiring. For a long time, however, they faced a huge obstacle in the form of age discrimination that was often completely legal in this state. With a new bill (Assembly Bill 681) signed into law by the governor earlier this month, much of that has now changed.

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If you’ve encountered disability discrimination in your job, you’ve likely suffered significant harm. You may have lost earnings; you may have lost your job entirely. You’ve suffered enough; you don’t need to suffer the loss of your discrimination lawsuit before it even gets off the ground because you didn’t have the tools you needed for success. Before you start, make sure have all the resources you need, including an experienced New Jersey disability discrimination lawyer.

The reasons that the right legal representation is so important are many. On TV shows, during the pretrial process, you see attorneys digging through stacks of documents or interviewing potential witnesses. You don’t see all that goes into, say, making a proper demand for the production of documents or correctly noticing a deposition.

Many procedural details potentially can trip up your case. Take, for example, Y.R., an office manager at a dermatology practice. The manager allegedly had peptic ulcers. The employer allegedly failed to accommodate the manager’s disabilities that stemmed from those ulcers. Eventually, in early 2018, the employer fired the manager after nearly 15 years on the job, so Y.R. sued for disability discrimination.

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Members of the uniformed services and the reserves provide an invaluable sacrifice for their country. One way that the country “pays back” its uniformed servicemembers is by ensuring that they are given a “fair shake” at their civilian jobs and not discriminated against due to their military status. That is true under both federal law and New Jersey law. If your employer has mistreated you because of your military status, you may be entitled to a judgment or settlement and substantial compensation. Reach out right away to a knowledgeable New Jersey military status discrimination lawyer to find out more about the actions you can take.

A very recent military leave ruling by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings directly control federal lawsuits in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware), represents a significant victory for all uniformed service members in New Jersey.

The plaintiff, G.T., was a Petty Officer, First Class in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserve for two decades, from 1990 to 2010.  In 1996, he began a job as a courier with a major shipping company. Military reservists are required to participate in monthly “drill,” which is one weekend per month. They also are obligated to complete annual training, which is two weeks per year.

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In contract law, experienced attorneys know that the key to success (or potentially to defeat) can often lie in the so-called “fine print,” which is why it is well worth going over every detail with great care. That is true, not just in business and commercial contracts, but in most binding agreements generally, including a settlement agreement reached as part of your employment law case. A knowledgeable New Jersey employment lawyer can help you to “sweat the small stuff” and get the settlement agreement that works best for you.

Generally speaking, the most optimal settlement agreement you can reach, if you are an employee, is one that gets you a resolution, gets you compensated, and does so while surrendering as few of your legal rights and options as possible.

An age discrimination case recently before the Appellate Division court shows just how helpful the right agreement can be. In that case, K.R. was a 30-plus-year veteran of a local police department in Union County when, in 2015, two others officers misrepresented facts to a prosecuting attorney to obtain a search warrant in a suspected drunk driving case. K.R. was not one of the officers involved in the misconduct, but one of the ones who was involved told him about the misconduct, and K.R. did not inform the prosecuting attorney’s office, even though he said he would.

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Sometimes, a hostile work environment case may involve dozens or hundreds of instances of sexual harassment. Other cases may involve an employer that blatantly turned a blind eye to the harassment and did nothing. (Still, others may involve both.) However, even if those things weren’t true in your case, you can sue and you potentially can still hold your employer liable, even if the harassment happened just once and your employer acted quickly in the harassment’s aftermath. To achieve that kind of legal success, start by getting in touch with a knowledgeable New Jersey hostile work environment lawyer.

The hostile work environment case of J.T., an office assistant at a drug counseling and treatment center in Monmouth County, makes for a good illustration. In March 2016, the clinic director organized a weekend outing to Atlantic City to celebrate the birthday of a coworker. During that trip, according to the assistant’s complaint, her supervisor supplied her with alcohol. J.T. eventually became sick and laid down, awakening later with her supervisor in bed with her.

According to the complaint, the supervisor raped J.T., as well as engaging in other oral and digital non-consensual acts with her. These acts occurred “throughout the night.” Allegedly, the supervisor boasted the next morning that he had “Cosby’d” the assistant, seemingly a clear indication that the supervisor had drugged J.T. to have sexual relations with her without her consent.

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Sex discrimination can occur in many different forms. Some of it is relatively “in-your-face” like inappropriate (and sexually discriminatory) comments connected to gender. Other forms, such as a failure to promote, failure to hire, or unequal pay, can be more subtle. Whatever form they take, they are illegal employment actions and you should waste no time in contacting an experienced New Jersey sex discrimination lawyer when it happens to you.

J.S. was someone who allegedly knew firsthand what it was like to be a woman in a “boys’ club” place of employment and suffer sex discrimination as a result. In her case, that place of employment was the police department of a borough in Union County. J.S. had worked for the department since the early 1990s, had risen to the rank of lieutenant and, by 2017, was the #1-ranked non-veteran on the list of candidates eligible for promotion to captain. She did not, however, receive a promotion in 2017.

The next year, she again was ranked #1 on the same list, but again was denied the promotion. Each time, the department chose instead to promote lower-ranking eligible candidates. Each time, the lower-ranking candidates who received promotions were men and, according to the lawsuit, were “cronies” of the borough’s police chief, nj.com reported.

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