Phillips & Associates
Phillips & Associates
Phillips & Associates
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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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In any area of the law, there are obvious cases and there are not-so-obvious cases. While a textbook or a TV show might be a good place to find examples of the former, in the real world examples of the latter are more common. This is why it pays to have a knowledgeable New Jersey employment retaliation lawyer on your side. Just because your case isn’t an obvious one does not mean that it is not a valid or winnable one (far from it.) It just means that it requires the touch of a seasoned legal professional to generate a positive result.

Retaliation cases are one area where this is very true. To win your case, you need proof that you engaged in protected activity and that you suffered an adverse employment action as a proximate result of that activity. The difference between success and defeat, then, may come down to winning the arguments about whether or not what you did was protected conduct and what your employer did was an adverse employment action. These things are often much more “shades of gray” than black-and-white.

A recent federal Title VII retaliation case involving a postal service worker shows what we mean. Allegedly, in September 2014, D.G., who was the postmaster of a post office in Bergen County, experienced an incident where a letter carrier engaged in non-consensual touching, hugging her, kissing her, and grabbing her rear.

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Many times, appeals court rulings reaffirm well-established concepts of law. Sometimes, though, these rulings may stake out new territory or expressly clarify something for the first time, making them particularly noteworthy developments in the law. For you, as a worker who may have been harmed by workplace discrimination, it is vital to have a knowledgeable New Jersey employment discrimination lawyer on your side who is fully versed on all of the law’s latest advances and updates so that those new developments in the law can be put to full use on your behalf.

A recent case from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which is the federal appeals court whose rulings directly impact federal cases in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, represented one of those significant developments. In that late July ruling, the court announced for the first time that race-based “associational discrimination” was a viable form of discrimination under which a worker could pursue a Title VII discrimination case.

The employee, J.K., a captain at the county jail in Pittsburgh, had allegedly endured a considerable amount of racially offensive conduct, including comments with racial slurs like “monkey” and text messages with “racially offensive” content.

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The current resurgence in COVID-19 cases is a reminder of many things, not the least of which is the importance of health, especially the health of our closest loved ones. Taking care of a seriously ill or dying family member should not be an act that costs you your job and, in New Jersey, we have the Family Leave Act to protect workers. If you have been fired or otherwise punished at work for taking leave to care for a seriously ailing loved one, your employer may have violated the law. If that happens to you, do not delay in reaching out to an experienced New Jersey family leave lawyer to learn more about your legal options.

As an illustration of what a violation might look like, there’s the FLA case of a driver working for a Hoboken-based bus line company. That driver was also the son of a man who had terminal leukemia. On two occasions, the driver, armed with a medical certificate issued by the father’s doctor, took intermittent leave to tend to his dying father.

In December 2017, he sought additional leave and, in response, the employer asked for a new medical certificate. The driver indicated that he could not do that “because the gravity of his father’s deteriorating condition was still being assessed.” According to the driver, he planned to provide the paperwork the employer sought once the father’s medical team created a new treatment plan.

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As cases of the Delta variant of the coronavirus surge, more and more governmental entities and private employers are responding with mandates related to vaccines and masks. As these mandates have proliferated, workers whose religious beliefs and practices stand opposed to such things may feel left in a quandary. Do not give up hope. Although the circumstances are limited, there are settings in which you may be entitled to a religious exemption against certain coronavirus-related mandates. As with any kind of workplace discrimination, you should get in touch with an experienced New Jersey religious discrimination lawyer and discuss your legal options.

Vaccine mandates are making lots of news headlines. Nearby New York City has erected a mandate banning unvaccinated people from indoor restaurants, gyms, and entertainment facilities. Many employers in New Jersey – including several in the healthcare industry along with the state’s court system – are mandating vaccines for their employees.

So, what if you practice a religion whose rules prevent you from getting any of the coronavirus vaccines? Does the threat posed by COVID-19 trump your religious rights?

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You can think of your successful discrimination or sexual harassment case like one of those domino “chain reaction” exercises. To arrive at a successful domino effect conclusion, every element of the chain must be properly in place and must do its job. If any one of them fails, the whole thing fails. One of the many ways that the right New Jersey employment discrimination lawyer will help you is by ensuring that you have the proof you need in each of the required elements so that each of your “dominos” will be more than ready to do its job and get you to a successful case result.

The disability discrimination case of one retail worker from North Jersey makes for a very good example of this. F.K., a woman with a hearing impairment and a speech impediment, worked at a clothing store and “lifestyle retailer” in the Menlo Park Mall in Edison.

Eight months after F.K. started, a new manager came to the store. Things allegedly got off to a rocky start. The new manager verbally reprimanded for various minor infractions. There was one text message exchange about an alleged incident involving F.K. reading a book while “on the clock.” However, no one ever “wrote up” F.K. and all managers confirmed that F.K.’s work was “generally satisfactory.”

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