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.
According to the report, R.M.’s case asserted that, on the same day that a new interim director took over, the director told R.M. that “I don’t want a black person walking around here in a suit as a VP. I want you in scrubs, flats and a lab coat.” The very next day, the facility terminated the vice president’s employment.
In its defense, the employer argued that it fired R.M. for poor performance. Alleged performance issues are a common assertion employers use to attempt to present a firing as being legitimate and non-discriminatory. The employee’s legal team was ready for this argument and had proof to defend against it. R.M. put on testimony from individuals who refuted the notion that she had been experiencing performance problems at work, and she also had evidence that the employer had just recently given her a promotion and a large raise, which further raised doubts about the employer’s assertion of R.M.’s performance issues.
Based on all of that strong proof, both offensive and defensive, the employee’s case persuaded the jury, permitting the vice president to recover not only $1.8 million in compensatory damages, but also $4.1 million in punitive damages.
Having a truly strong and persuasive case in your discrimination lawsuit is a multi-faceted thing. Achieving the fullest success requires developing all those facets, so be sure you have the legal counsel you need to help you achieve that goal. Talk to knowledgeable New Jersey race discrimination attorneys at Phillips & Associates who have “been there” many times before and know how to provide you with the sort of representation that gets results. Contact us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation and to find out how our experienced attorneys can help you.