An 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.
New 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.
When 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.
A recent case from Paramus, reported by northjersey.com, provides some helpful insight on how an employee may still be entitled to pursue her rights even in what might appear to be challenging conditions. A guidance counselor and basketball coach sued her former employer for sexual orientation discrimination. Even though the employer in this case was a Catholic school, the trial court and the Appellate Division both ruled that the religion exception did not automatically prevent this employee from pursuing her discrimination case.
A New Jersey Supreme Court ruling in a police dispatcher’s disability discrimination case has provided valuable guidance and help for any employee pursuing a disability discrimination case under the Law Against Discrimination. The ruling allows employees with disabilities to use the opinion testimony of their treating doctors and potentially avoid the possibly expensive prospect of hiring an expert witness.
The issue of discrimination against LGBT people is again making legal headlines as a federal appeals court in Atlanta recently ruled that Title VII does not include within it a protection for workers who suffer discrimination based upon their sexual orientation. A federal appeals court in Chicago reached a similar conclusion last year. Fortunately for LGBT people in New Jersey, this state’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD) provides clear and unmistakable prohibitions against workplace discrimination based upon a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
In an important win for employees throughout New Jersey, the state’s highest court ruled in favor of workers victimized by discrimination. The court upheld rulings by a trial court and the Appellate Division, allowing a jury’s award of emotional damages to stand in favor of two employees who suffered ethnic discrimination on the job. The ruling serves as a clear reminder that New Jersey law allows workers who suffer employment discrimination to recover for the degradation, humiliation, and mental anguish they suffer, even if that suffering doesn’t trigger “severe emotional or physical ailments.”
For many workers, times are hard and jobs can be scarce. Sometimes, this may place employers in an advantageous position relative to their job applicants. While the law often gives the two sides a lot of freedom in terms of contracting for employment, there are also some distinct limits. A New Jersey Supreme Court case from a few months ago illustrated one such boundary. The high court ruled that an employer and an employee cannot, through a contractual agreement, shorten the length of time an employee has to pursue his rights under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.