Phillips & Associates
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When you are seeking an employment accommodation in New Jersey based on your disability, it is very important to have a knowledgeable New Jersey disability discrimination attorney on your side. There are several things that your employer must do during this process and, if it doesn’t (or if it doesn’t do so in good faith,) then that may be a very important cog in your Law Against Discrimination lawsuit. An experienced attorney can spot these issues for you and help you use them to your maximum benefit.

A recent case from Hunterdon County shows what an example of a lack of good faith by an employer might look like. V.L. was a woman with depression and anxiety. V.L. worked at a Hunterdon County health care organization from 1996 to 2015.

During her employment, V.L. had requested several accommodations for her depression and anxiety, which the employer had approved. At the end of an approved 12-week leave of absence, the employee met with her doctor, as well as a physician’s assistant who worked for the employer, about her return to work. According to the P.A., the employer had already identified a replacement to fill V.L.’s job.

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In mid-January, a bill to remove religious reasons as a valid exception to the legal requirement that schoolchildren receive certain vaccinations failed to make it out of the Senate before the legislative session ended. The bill, if it had passed, would have forced all public school students to be vaccinated unless they had a documented medical reason not to be. Although the bill did not reach the Governor’s desk before the end of the session, legislative leaders have vowed to begin work right away on a new bill, nj.com reported.

This particular bill that just failed would have had no impact on New Jersey workers when it comes to vaccinations and valid bases for obtaining an exception to an otherwise mandatory inoculation. If your religion forbids you from receiving medical treatments such as vaccinations, then an employer who forces you either to get inoculated or lose your job may be engaged in impermissible religious discrimination. If you find yourself placed in such a difficult position, be sure to reach out to a knowledgeable religious discrimination attorney to discuss your situation and your options.

In New Jersey, there are various avenues that may allow you to avoid having to undergo a vaccination if your preference is not to have one. One way you can avoid vaccination is if you have a medical condition that makes getting vaccinated problematic for your health. For example, the yellow fever vaccine sometimes contains egg proteins. Medical professionals, such as the Mayo Clinic, generally recommend that people with egg allergies do not get a yellow fever vaccine except under specific situations and under close medical supervision.

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In 2014, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act became law in New Jersey. That law amended the Law Against Discrimination to go further to combat pregnancy discrimination, and work to eradicate unequal treatment of pregnant women in the workplace (among other places.) The PWFA may be an important aid to you in winning a pregnancy discrimination case. If you have been the victim of pregnancy discrimination at work, an experienced New Jersey pregnancy discrimination attorney who is well-versed in the PWFA and other pregnancy discrimination laws can help.

One recent pregnancy discrimination case that did involve the PWFA was the lawsuit launched by K.D., a police officer. When K.D. found out she was pregnant with her second child, she promptly notified her supervisors that her doctor had advised that she be taken off patrol.

The police department granted the officer’s request for a light-duty assignment but, in accordance with department policy, K.D. could only begin working her light-duty assignment after she had first used up every single hour of vacation, holiday and personal leave time she had accumulated during her entire time on the force.

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The original spark may not have come from a New Jersey workplace, but the final outcome will be something that will benefit thousands upon thousands of New Jersey workers. That outcome is that, as nj.gov reported, on Dec. 19, 2019, New Jersey became the third state to ban discrimination based upon a person’s natural hairstyle when Governor Murphy signed the CROWN Act into law. This is an extremely important new law for workers, many of whom in the past have been forced to choose between taking costly and sometimes drastic measures to alter their hair or else face workplace punishment or even termination due to their failure to conform to workplace grooming rules.

As several lawmakers have pointed out recently, no one should face adverse action in employment simply because of the way in which their hair grows naturally. Now, the law will make it clear that imposing such unfair rules is against the law and entitles the worker to pursue financial compensation in court with the assistance of a New Jersey race discrimination attorney.

One year to the day before the governor signed the act, on Dec. 19, 2018, a South Jersey high school wrestler was on the verge of competing when he was approached with what many would consider a “Hobson’s choice.” A referee told the student that he must shave off his dreadlocks, or else he must forfeit his match. The student eventually wrestled, but not before suffering the humiliation of having his head shaved right there in the gym. That terrible incident served as the “flashpoint” that set New Jersey on the road to banning discrimination based on natural hair.

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While some social media jokes or memes that go “viral” may be harmless fun, others have the potential to perpetuate racism, sexism, ageism or other forms of discrimination. When employers allow that sort of harmful activity to occur in their workplaces, they are potentially allowing for the creation or exacerbation of a hostile work environment. If you’ve been forced to endure a stream of jokes, insults and other comments due to your age, race, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or military status, then you may have been the victim of illegal discrimination and may be entitled to a significant sum in compensation. Contact an experienced New Jersey age discrimination lawyer to find out more.

The latest potentially problematic viral phrase to emerge into popularity is “OK Boomer.” The phrase, which is a reference to people of the “Baby Boom” generation, is intended to poke fun at anyone saying something that is considered outdated or out-of-touch, and has received coverage from sources including the New York Times. It has even reached into the Star Wars universe, with one popular online picture showing Baby Yoda using “OK Boomer” as a snarky comeback to Yoda.

What may be funny when it involves Yoda catching flak from Baby Yoda may be less so when it involves you doing your job. An “OK Boomer“ jab at work potentially indicates that the speaker is saying you are less skillful and less competent at your job simply due to your age. Federal law protects workers who are age 40 or older from age discrimination, meaning that a hostile work environment that includes “OK Boomer” jokes/comments could lead to a potentially successful federal case.

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It’s that time of year again. The holidays are again upon us. Along with gifts, food and family get-togethers, many people’s holidays in New Jersey also include holiday parties put on by their employers. For a lot of folks, these events are fun, or at least professionally productive. For too many people, though, these events are fraught with navigating offensive conduct… or worse.

Regardless of who has engaged in the offensive conduct – be it a co-worker or a supervisor – part of the legal blame may lie with the employer, making the employer liable under state or federal law for discrimination or sexual harassment. Check with an experienced New Jersey sexual harassment attorney about the specifics of your situation to find what legal options may best help you.

The headlines across 2019 have revealed that, even after the emergence of #MeToo and other forms of heightened awareness regarding sexual harassment, misconduct at holiday parties is still an issue. Tinder is a dating app that, according to some observers, offered users the option to pursue sex without a relationship. According to one former marketing executive at the company, the company’s former CEO appeared to think that the company’s holiday party offered him the opportunity to pursue sexual activity without consent. The former VP’s lawsuit, filed this past summer, alleged that the man, who was still CEO at the time of the party, made sexually graphic comments to her, then later followed her to her hotel room, where he forcibly groped her breasts and kissed her, according to a Yahoo! report.

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A popular TV commercial features a famous current football player debating a famous retired player regarding which was more important – a good offense or a good defense. A knowledgeable employment discrimination attorney will tell you that, when it comes to pursuing a discrimination case successfully, it is vitally important to have both – powerful evidence that persuasively bolsters the arguments you’re making, as well as effective proof that will blunt the arguments the other side will inevitably make during your litigation.

For an example of what this means, look at the case of R.M., which was reported by northjersey.com. The employer, a nursing facility in Bound Brook, fired R.M., an African American vice president at the facility, from her job in late 2016. According to the employee, the termination was the result of racial discrimination.

R.M. had strong proof that she used both in support of her case and in opposition of the defense’s case. In a discrimination case, one of the most effective forms of circumstantial evidence of your employer’s discriminatory motive that you can have is timing. If, for example, you’re pursuing a pregnancy discrimination or a disability discrimination case, and you have evidence that your employer fired you one week after you notified the employer of your pregnancy or disability, then that timing evidence is very strong in pointing toward discrimination as the real reason for your firing.

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Anyone that’s every worked in an office environment knows that there are certain awkward interpersonal interactions that one must navigate in order to succeed in the workplace. There are things that you’d rather avoid, but sometimes you don’t, just so you can be sure you’re seen as a good “team player.” For one Atlantic County school system employee, though, her effort to be a “team player” eventually turned for the worse and allegedly made her workplace a hostile environment.

That alleged hostile work environment eventually landed the employee, according to a nj.com report, a $185,000 settlement. If you think you were the victim of a hostile environment at work, you should contact an experienced New Jersey hostile work environment attorney about your case.

According to the employee’s complaint, problems started after a new business administrator, P.Y., came on board at the school district and expressed to P.B., who was a secretary for the district, that he was physically attracted to one of P.B.’s friends. P.Y. alleged asked P.B. to facilitate a meeting with the friend, who was also a secretary working for the district, imploring P.B. to “hook a brother up.” P.B. asked the administrator to stop, but he didn’t.

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If you’ve been the victim of discrimination in New Jersey, there may be certain circumstances where you have to argue your case before multiple bodies. For example, some situations may lead to your arguing in an administrative hearing and then later at a civil trial.

If your discrimination case is one of these procedurally complex matters, it is especially important that you have representation from a skilled New Jersey employment discrimination attorney. Your knowledgeable attorney can help, not only in putting together the factual evidence and legal arguments you need, but also in navigating all of the extra procedural hurdles that may exist in your pursuit of the compensation you need.

J.D.R. was one of those employees facing that kind of challenging case. He was a Hispanic male who worked as a housekeeping supervisor at one of the state’s centers for people with developmental disabilities. During his time working at the center, the supervisor had several absences. Even with his attendance history, the employee received a positive performance evaluation in 2015.

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Discrimination law has come a long way in the last half-century. As recently as 50 years ago, a major aviation company refused to hire women if they were mothers to very young children. 30 years ago, American Airlines still had a policy that called for the termination of female flight attendants if they were anything more than quite thin. For example, a 5’5” tall female flight attendant could be fired if she weighed 130 pounds or more.

Today, these types of employment actions and policies could potentially give a harmed worker a winning discrimination claim. They potentially represent a subset of discrimination law called “sex-plus” discrimination. In these circumstances, the employers aren’t committing “regular” sex discrimination, but are discriminating based on “sex plus” one other characteristic, such as sex plus motherhood status. It’s against the law and, if you have been harmed at work due to this type of discrimination, you may be entitled to a significant sum of damages, so you should take the time to contact an experienced New Jersey sex discrimination attorney right away.

Regrettably, this type of discrimination still occurs. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals looked at such a case last year, ruling for the fired employee. That employee, K.C.R., took a job in 2015 as a Pennsylvania-based district manager for a chain of adult bookstores. Her employment duration was extremely short. Her first day was Nov. 9. On Thursday, Nov. 19, she texted C.M., the man who had hired her, to tell him that she had gotten married that previous weekend. On Friday, Nov. 20, she was fired.

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