Phillips & Associates
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Part of what makes certain types of harassment and discrimination, such as quid pro quo sexual harassment, so insidious is that they often leave the victim with the sense that she is powerless, and that her harasser has all the power. That is doubly true if the harasser is, in fact, a politically or professionally powerful person. Don’t fall into that trap of hopelessness. If you’ve experienced quid pro quo sexual harassment, you are entitled to sue, and you may be entitled to receive significant compensation. Reach out to a skilled New Jersey sexual harassment attorney without fear and without delay to find out what options exist for you.

It’s one thing (and an undoubtedly agonizing thing) when your sexual harasser is some low-level supervisor. Imagine how much more stressful it may be when your harasser is a powerful person like a judge! That was the situation facing C.S., a probation officer, in her discrimination and harassment case.

The alleged harasser was the top trial court judge in the county where C.S. lived. They met at a holiday party and exchanged telephone numbers. According to C.S.’s court papers, she visited the judge’s chambers after hours and, although she didn’t want to, she gave into the judge’s insistence to have sex with him. The judge allegedly called the pair’s sexual interaction a “business relationship.”

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When you sue for race discrimination, two of the main avenues you can follow to pursue your case are either disparate impact or disparate treatment. Under federal law, disparate impact discrimination occurs when your employer had policies or practices that had a disproportionately negative impact on people of your race. Disparate treatment occurs when you (or you plus others of your race) were treated less favorably than other workers in similar situations who were not members of your race. Each kind of case requires accumulating the right amount and the right kind of proof, and knowing how to use that evidence to its maximum effect, so be sure you have a knowledgeable New Jersey employment attorney handling your case.

A recent federal case from here in New Jersey is a good example of how a disparate treatment discrimination claim can work. J.D. was a security supervisor at a popular Atlantic City casino. The casino fired him after an incident with a verbally aggressive and apparently intoxicated panhandler.

In that encounter, J.D. used a “leg sweep” move to take the man’s legs out from under him. The panhandler was not physically injured in the takedown. However, the employer nevertheless fired J.D. for using excessive force. J.D., who was African-American, sued the employer for race discrimination.

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As the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office clearly stated in a recent press release, “No parent should be forced to choose between their job and caring for or breastfeeding their child… New Jersey law protects a parent’s right to take leave to care for a newborn child and to return to the same position after leave. It also protects a parent’s right to breastfeed a child.” As an expectant parent, you know that those first weeks and months are something that you can never experience again with that child, and that the bonding that takes place during those early months is vitally important to your child. When you suffer workplace harm because you took leave following your delivery, or because you’re breastfeeding your baby, that’s against the law. Take action by contacting an experienced New Jersey employment attorney right away.

One way you can help yourself when you are expecting a child is by knowing your rights. A recent case that was reported by the Hudson Reporter is a good illustration of how helpful knowing your rights when it comes to family leave can be.

Here in New Jersey, you are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period (if you’ve worked at least 1,250 hours during the last 12 months) under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) gives you up to 12 weeks of leave in a 24-month period if you’ve worked at least 1,000 hours in the previous 12 months.

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As all of America has come to re-assess the way in which minorities and other marginalized people are treated, many have concluded that it is not enough merely to refrain from engaging in harmful biased behavior; one must also be an active participant in stamping out such bigotry. However, what about at your workplace? If a coworker or supervisor is using offensive language that dehumanizes a group, what are your options? Are your options fewer if you’re not a member of that group? Fortunately, whether you are a member of the targeted group or are just an ally, you have some clear rights in New Jersey, so be sure to reach out to an experienced New Jersey employment attorney right away if you are punished at work for speaking up.

Let’s use an example from current events, reported by the New York Times, as a starting point. Very recently, an announcer for a Major League Baseball team, during a moment that was supposed to be off-air but was inadvertently broadcast, used an offensive anti-gay slur. He was later suspended by the TV network that employed him. Even though the slur may have occurred in a moment the announcer believed was off-air, it was undeniably said at the announcer’s workplace while he was “on the job,” and was clearly audible by fellow broadcasters and members of the network’s broadcast production team.

Lots of New Jersey workers can probably relate to having to put up with supervisors or coworkers who regularly shower the workplace with racist, anti-LGBT, anti-woman or other slurs and epithets. But do you really have to “put up with it”?

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In some ways, you can think of your discrimination or harassment lawsuit like a hurdles race in track and field. Your desired goal lies at the finish line, but you must successfully clear each of the numerous hurdles that stand between you and the finish line if you are to arrive at the finish line with the result you want. In your lawsuit, one of the most important hurdles is the “motion for summary judgment.” It is a hurdle you must clear to get to trial and getting past this hurdle may open several new doors for you. As you seek to defeat your employer’s motion for summary judgment, be sure you are armed with legal representation from a skilled and experienced New Jersey employment attorney.

A.F. was a worker involved in one of those kinds of cases. She was a 62-year-old woman working as the director of security for a casino. After more than three decades at the casino, the director began reporting to a new supervisor. That supervisor allegedly indicated to A.F. that he desired to “weed out” all of the “fat and old female security officers.” The supervisor indicated his preference to “get back to youth[ful] enforcement people” and to “get rid of these girls.”

Eventually, the supervisor began making A.F. meet with him more often, moved her office to the operations floor of the casino and moved the director’s assigned parking spot (which she’d maintained for 20 years) to a different lot several blocks away. Additionally, the supervisor allegedly “berated” women in front of A.F. “constantly,” took away her ability to hire workers and threatened to eliminate the director’s assistant’s job.

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A recent survey completed by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association and Taft Communications revealed several interesting insights but one undeniably regrettable trend. The survey’s findings suggest that people are reportedly hearing more offensive comments at work. From a legal perspective, an offensive comment may not always be enough to establish a winning Law Against Discrimination case, but it can be an integral ingredient and, sometimes, just a single slur may be all the proof you need to win your case. A knowledgeable New Jersey employment attorney can help you analyze the facts of your case and determine what evidence you need to succeed.

The annual “State of Diversity Survey” asked workers how often they heard comments “that could be seen as offensive to racial and ethnic minorities; women; Muslims; Jews;” and LGBTQ+ people. Specifically, the survey asked workers, “have you overheard things at work that might be considered offensive to certain groups” during the past year?

The number of respondents, in all categories, who reported hearing these offensive comments either “occasionally” or “very often” was at the highest levels since the poll launched, and every category had a marked increase from last year. Workers who heard comments potentially offensive to racial and ethnic minorities rose 12% from last year to 28%. Respondents reported hearing misogynistic comments (up 10% to 24%), homophobic comments (up 11% to 23%), Islamophobic comments (up 13% to 23%) and anti-Semitic comments (up 10% to 20%), all of which were the highest levels ever recorded in the survey, which began in 2016.

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Like many personal relationships, the best attorney-clients relationships are based on trust and communication. If you’re not being honest with your attorney or not communicating with your attorney, it could lead to problems that will harm your case. That’s why it is important to recognize that your employment discrimination or harassment case requires, not just a skilled New Jersey employment attorney, but the right attorney with whom you can forge a strong relationship in order to get the best outcome for you.

A recent case from Union County is an unfortunate example. L.A., the employee, was a worker at a health insurance entity’s office. In 2017, she sued her employer for discrimination and sexual harassment. Attorneys for the employer and employee discussed possibly settling the case in late 2018, with employer initially offering $25,000. L.A.’s position started at $95,000 but she eventually lowered that to $90,000.

L.A. and her legal team communicated on Oct. 31. As the employer increased its offers, L.A.’s legal team reached out on Nov.2, Nov. 3, Nov. 4 and Nov. 5, with each message expressing an increasing degree of urgency that the client contact the law office immediately. L.A. didn’t respond to any of those November messages, and that created a problem, as the judge was on the verge of entering a ruling.

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For too many workers, their workplace is not a safe place. For some, that means something like being a construction worker at a dangerous site where safety rules and regulations are routinely flouted. For others, it means something very different, but potentially as dangerous. These workers, most of whom are women but many of whom are men, face a job site where they face daily threat of harm – be it psychological, physical or both – as a result of sexual harassment from a supervisor. When your employer fails to take action to protect you, you may eventually reach a breaking point where protecting your safety means resigning. Do not be misled into thinking that, just because you resigned, you cannot win a sexual harassment case under the Law Against Discrimination. Don’t give up, but instead do reach out to an experienced New Jersey sexual harassment attorney about your legal options.

S.W. was one of those workers who resigned and later sued. She worked as a marketing manager for an auto club in Wayne. Very soon after she began her job, the sexual harassment allegedly started. D.H., one of the club’s vice presidents, engaged in many forms of harassment, according to the lawsuit.

First, it was urging S.W. to “check out” the breasts of other women who had a “nice rack.” Then there allegedly was the time that the vice president showed her a hand-drawn image, which was supposed to be a membership goal thermometer, but was actually aroused male genitalia. After that, according to S.W., was the time that she was sitting on a folding table to conduct a meeting and the man (who by then was the president) made fun of S.W.’s sitting position, asking her if it was “an invite” as he made a pelvic thrusting motion. Allegedly, the harassment escalated to unwanted touching when the president “felt up her leg.”

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Too many people think that, because they have a strong knowledge of the facts of their discrimination case, and perhaps a certain degree of understanding of the law, they can handle their case without representation from a skilled New Jersey employment attorney. That’s almost always a mistake. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of legal or procedural traps that a skilled employment attorney avoids every day but that can readily ensnare you, as a layperson, if you try to “go it alone.”

A recent federal case is a regrettable example. The employee, K.K., was an Asian-American man of Korean origin who worked for a financial services firm. During his time there, he allegedly suffered many forms of harassment, including a coworker “trampling the floor” near him. K.K. complained to a manager, but to no avail.

The employer eventually fired K.K. in 2018. The terminated worker, who was in his late 50s by this time, filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and, later, sued for age discrimination, national origin discrimination and race discrimination in federal court.

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According to a recently filed federal lawsuit, K.R., an African-American man who worked in a New Jersey manufacturing facility for a decade and a half, suffered a horrific array of extreme instances of racial discrimination. At this point in time, the acts of race discrimination in K.R.’s case are just allegations – they have not yet been proven in a court of law. Nevertheless, K.R.’s case is a useful one for workers of color in New Jersey to look at, as it serves as an important reminder that you don’t need hundreds or dozens (or even multiple) instances of discrimination in order to have a successful case. With even just a single instance of severe discrimination, you may have a winning case. To be sure you have the strongest case possible to present to the court, reach out to an experienced New Jersey racial discrimination attorney as soon as possible.

According to a report in mycentraljersey.com, the racism-fueled harassment allegedly began just two months after K.R. started his job. First, two white employees allegedly vandalized his vehicle. K.R. reported it, and even after the white employees admitted what they’d done, the employer merely paid for the damages, but took no “remedial or disciplinary” action against those employees, according to the lawsuit.

One year later, a Hispanic employee allegedly told K.R. and two African-American co-workers that they’d been assigned to work in the workplace’s freezer because “the three of you are” [N-words]. (There allegedly was an additionally profane slur preceding the N-word.)

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