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pregnantIt is fairly well-known that an employer who undertakes an action harmful toward an employee simply because that employee is pregnant is liable for impermissible discrimination. However, what happens when the employer allegedly acts out of concern for the mother-to-be or her unborn child? The answer, in short, is that if an employer’s action is professionally adverse for the pregnant employee, regardless of the reasons, the action is discriminatory. A debt collection company employee and the revocation of her promotion recently served as a case in point.

The facts underlying this case are something that takes place unfortunately too often. Carolyn was a successful employee with a debt collection company in Hackensack. Things were probably exciting for Carolyn because she had just earned a promotion to collections manager with the company. On the personal side, she was also pregnant.

When the employee announced her pregnancy to her employer, things changed dramatically. The employer took back the promotion. The employer concluded that the woman’s pregnancy, which would last through the employer’s busy tax season, would be a problem. Additionally, the employer unilaterally decided that the stress and long hours involved in being a collections manager with their company were not conducive to the overall health of a pregnant woman. Instead, the employer told Carolyn to “focus on her health,” according to an HR Daily Advisor report.

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Transgender PrideA headline-making new federal court ruling regarding discrimination and the rights of transgender people in the workplace may not immediately affect workers in New Jersey, but it could play a role in the not-too-distant future. The ruling, which allowed a trans woman to pursue a disability discrimination case under the Americans with Disabilities Act, is not binding in New Jersey federal cases right now, but it could become so if the Third Circuit of Appeals reaches the issue and adopts the lower court’s conclusion.

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gavel and bookIf you’re familiar with federal age discrimination law, you’ll probably know that the “magic number,” so to speak, in terms of the group of age-protected employees is 40 years of age. So what happens when a group of workers, all of whom are over 50, pursue an Age Discrimination in Employment Act claim accusing their employer of discrimination specifically against 50+ employees? According to an important decision issued by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, the ADEA allows them to go forward with their disparate impact claim, even though they were only a sub-group of all age-protected employees.

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truckWhen you’ve suffered from employment discrimination, you may find yourself facing many hurdles on the way to getting your day in court and compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. For one New Jersey truck driver, his hurdles included convincing the courts that his Law Against Discrimination case was not preempted by a federal law related to collective bargaining agreements. In this driver’s case, his state law claims existed outside the parameters of the CBA between his union and his employer, which meant that there was no preemption, and he could go forward with his case.

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fine printEveryone generally begins a new job hoping it will be a complete success, and it is generally while filled with these high hopes that an employee signs his employment contract, complete with all of its “fine print.” In the case of one pharmaceutical company employee, the New Jersey Appellate Division issued an important ruling in favor of workers, concluding that the law allowed him to bring his Wage Payment Law action and that the arbitration clause in his employment contract was unenforceable.

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gavel and moneySometimes, when you’ve been a victim of workplace discrimination, your civil damages may not be the only monetary award to which the law entitles you. Depending on the facts of your case, you may also have obtained an award of unemployment benefits, disability benefits, or another award. In an important ruling by the Appellate Division from earlier this year, the court clarified that a workplace discrimination victim’s civil damages award should not have been reduced based solely upon his receipt of unemployment benefits.

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PoliceA jury in a federal court in New Jersey recently decided that a woman, who was a township’s first female police officer and who did receive full health benefits upon retirement, won her federal case asserting that her employer engaged in sex discrimination. Having found the employer liable for discrimination, the jury then awarded the officer $355,000 in damages to compensate for past and future health insurance expenses, the Union News Daily reported.

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suitAn engineer’s age discrimination lawsuit against his former employer recently resulted in a large jury verdict in his favor. The jury found that the employer engaged in age discrimination in violation of federal law and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. After finding the employer liable, the jury awarded the laid-off engineer more than $51 million in damages, according to reports by the Courier Post.

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Wedding ringNew Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination is one of the more robust anti-discrimination laws in the country. New Jersey law says that people shouldn’t suffer harm, on the job and in certain other settings, as a result of “invidious stereotypes” about their race, sex, national origin, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, or marital status. A ruling from last year handed down by the New Jersey Supreme Court sided with an employer because his employer did exactly what the law prohibits – engaged in harmful stereotyping. The employer terminated the employee, who was having an extramarital affair and getting divorced, since it feared the divorce would be “ugly.” That, the high court concluded, should have allowed the employee to pursue a claim of marital status discrimination.

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gavelWhen you’ve been a victim of discrimination at work, that misconduct may give you an opportunity to hold your employer liable for that action. In some cases, there could be multiple different legal avenues for holding an employer liable for discrimination. Success can sometimes depend on how you use all of the tools at your disposal. In the case of one New Jersey State Police employee who claimed that he was a victim of racial, disability, and whistleblower discrimination, even though he saw two of his claims thrown out by the courts, he still secured a half-million dollar judgment on the basis of a third cause of action.

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