Phillips & Associates
Phillips & Associates
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A lot of times, if you’re pursuing a workplace discrimination case here in New Jersey, the perpetrator is the decisionmaker who inflicted the workplace harm you suffered. However, what can you do when that person was actually a subordinate? Depending on the facts of your case, you may still be able to succeed. A new ruling from the New Jersey Supreme Court is a reminder that, even if the facts of your situation seem unfavorable, never assume. Always reach out to an experienced New Jersey workplace discrimination lawyer before deciding whether or not you have a case.

In that recent sex discrimination case, the plaintiff was a female township manager who was terminated in 2016. When the township’s council fired the manager, they asserted several areas of allegedly deficient performance, including the supervisor of subordinates.

One of those subordinates was C.H., the man who the manager had promoted to the role of Police Chief. The chief allegedly had many problems, including failing to attend multiple meetings with the manager, failing to provide documentation that the manager demanded of him, and staging a police training exercise that involved an armed man in camouflage in a parking lot next door to a preschool.

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Back in late 2018, the New York Times published an extensive piece, which laid out the many sexual harassment risks female correctional officers face, entitled “Hazing, Humiliation, Terror: Working While Female in Federal Prison.” The pervasiveness of the sexual harassment female correctional officers face is not something unique to those in the federal prison system. If you’re someone who suffered sexual harassment while working at a facility in New Jersey – be it federal or state – you can, with the aid of a skilled New Jersey sexual harassment lawyer, take your case to court and potentially recover substantial compensation via a judgment or settlement.

Based on some recent reports, it’s clear that female correctional officers in local jails here in New Jersey face similar horrors when it comes to sexual harassment perpetrated by their coworkers and supervisors as the female workers in the federal prisons do.

Back in December, the local government in Union County decided to settle a lawsuit brought by M.H., a Black female officer at the now-closed Union County Jail in Elizabeth. The 2019 complaint alleged that M.H.’s supervisor harassed her daily. Allegedly, the white male supervisor made inappropriate comments like asking M.H. to “test a mattress” with him and stating his romantic/sexual desire for Black women, tapinto.net reported.

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Workers can face workplace discrimination at any step in the employment process, from the application process all the way to termination. As one recent action between the Division on Civil Rights and a major accounting and professional services firm demonstrates, we do mean any step, including training sessions. It’s a reminder that, wherever you are in your employment path, if you believe you were the target of discrimination, you should definitely take the time to get in touch with an experienced New Jersey gender discrimination lawyer.

Back in 2018, a HuffPost report covered the training women workers at the accounting firm received in a one-and-one-half-day leadership seminar. According to the report, the seminar instructed attendees not to “flaunt” their bodies because showing too much skin makes men less likely to focus. The seminar also encouraged women to maintain appearances that “signal fitness and wellness.”

Additionally, according to the report, the seminar paid particular attention to discussing the supposed differences between the masculine and the feminine, along with encouraging the women to hone their feminine characteristics and avoid displaying masculine traits. One attendee told HuffPost that the seminar taught that “women will be penalized, by both men and women, if they don’t adhere to feminine characteristics or if they display more masculine traits. And that if you want to be successful, you have to keep this in mind.”

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As we enter our third year of living with COVID-19, scientists are coming to learn more and more about the virus and its impacts. One critical thing they’ve discovered is that the virus does not harm all of those infected equally. Some may die fair quickly, some may be entirely asymptomatic and some may have non-lethal but long-lasting damaging effects. Recent guidance produced by the courts and by regulatory authorities has come to the conclusion that COVID may qualify as a “disability” under federal and state employment law and entitle those with COVID to workplace accommodations. If you think your employer has failed to make reasonable efforts to accommodate your long-lasting COVID symptoms, then your employer may be in violation of the law and you should get in touch with a knowledgeable New Jersey disability discrimination lawyer right away.

One of the more important medical breakthroughs has come with the discovery that, for some, COVID-19 is something that does not simply go away fairly quickly or else become critical. For those, there is something called “long COVID,” “long-haul COVID” or “chronic COVID.” According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, long COVID refers to cases where “where individuals experience new, returning, or ongoing health problems four or more weeks after being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.”

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has recognized that long COVID potentially can qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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An experienced New Jersey hostile work environment lawyer has many tools in his/her litigation “tool bag” to help you seek justice. One of those techniques is taking all of the facts of your case, analyzing them with the utmost care, and then identifying all of the “causes of action” that you can use to seek compensation. That helps because, the more claims you have, the better your chances of success.

As an example of this, we can look out west to a recent hostile work environment case pursued under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act. Sometimes, even court cases from outside our great state of New Jersey can be highly instructive to you, a New Jersey worker contemplating legal action in this state. That’s especially true if the employment law topics driving the case are federal law issues, such as Title VII cases.

In that recent case, the plaintiffs were seven women and one man who worked in an apparel company’s warehouse in Reno, Nevada. The defendant was their employer.

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If you’ve read this blog before, chances are fair that you have read about male police officers (and sometimes chiefs) behaving badly. Although the vast majority of law enforcement officers in this state are highly dedicated, highly respectful, and highly professional people, the problem of gender discrimination and sexual harassment in New Jersey is a recurring one. This is not something with which any should have to put up. If you have encountered gender discrimination at work, whether or not you work in law enforcement, you owe it to yourself to reach out to a knowledgeable New Jersey gender discrimination lawyer as soon as possible.

As with any sort of hostile work environment case, a police officer’s lawsuit faces certain distinct challenges. One of those may be the statute of limitations, which says that, in the pursuit of your case, you can only rely on instances of discrimination if they occurred sufficiently recently. In gender discrimination cases, that period generally is two years.

As one recent Appellate Division court ruling highlighted, though, there’s a way for you to use both the more recent and the older instances of gender discrimination you endured to strengthen the overall effectiveness of your case.

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A few years ago, a major insurance company ran an advertising campaign in which they counseled consumers to use them because of their vast knowledge borne out of their extensive experience. “We know a thing a or two because we’ve seen a thing or two,” the famous actor serving as a spokesperson helpfully explained. Selecting a New Jersey employment discrimination lawyer can involve some distinctly similar concepts.

In both situations, to best protect yourself, you need a well-seasoned professional who will know how to handle your circumstance, no matter how strange, novel, or unique, because they can call upon their vast catalog of first-hand experiences dealing with identical or similar situations successfully.

Having a knowledgeable and experienced discrimination attorney is never more important than when your case presents some unusual complexity. Take, for example, the federal discrimination case of T.E., an executive with a major nuclear power business who was 67 years old when he was fired at the end of May 2018.

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Race discrimination and color discrimination can come in many different forms. It may be based upon your race, or it may be based on your family and other close relationships (like having a biracial child or a partner of a different race), or it may be based on something else altogether. Any of these kinds of discrimination, if they have harmed you at work, can potentially be the basis for a successful lawsuit under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. If it’s happened to you, you should get in touch with an experienced New Jersey employment discrimination lawyer right away.

Most all of us are familiar with what the term “racism” means. What is less well-known, but can be just as injurious, is “colorism,” when one person or group discriminates based upon skin color as opposed to racial classification. Generally, it involves situations where people of darker skin are treated less favorably than people of lighter skin. (In other words, favoring a lighten-skinned Black person over a darker-skinned Black person, or favoring a lighter-skinned Latino person over a darker-skinned Latino.)

Other times, a person may suffer discrimination due to their darker skin, even if they are not a member of any sort of racial minority. Even if you’re not Black or Latino, it can still be illegal discrimination, as allegedly was the case with a police dispatcher in Monmouth County recently.

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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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