Articles Posted in Other Discrimination

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If you’ve ever been around someone fairly knowledgeable about taxes, you might have overheard them say, when hearing of a lottery winner’s take or a very successful game-show contestant’s haul, “Well, that amount isn’t really what they will take home. The tax hit on that is quite significant.” That’s true. What’s also true is that this also happens to people who succeed in civil litigation matters. The taxing authorities are entitled to their “cut” of your civil judgment. That’s what makes a recent decision by a federal judge in North Jersey so significant. The judge took taxes into account in fashioning the damages award in a discrimination case. If you’ve been a victim of workplace discrimination, it is important to make sure you are doing everything possible to get everything you deserve, so protect yourself by retaining knowledgeable New Jersey employment discrimination counsel to handle your case.Legal News Gavel

The recent case, reported by nj.com, involved several police sergeants working for the Jersey City Police. One of the sergeants alleged that her political affiliation and her “expression about a matter of public concern” played a major role in denying her a promotion. Based on those alleged denials, the sergeants sued the City of Jersey City for violating the Law Against Discrimination. The sergeant’s politics and her speaking out about matters of public concern were protected activities under the statute, so any adverse employment action that was a result of those activities was illegal discrimination under the law, according to the lawsuit.

The jury decided that the city had engaged in illegal discrimination based upon political affiliation. For each of the sergeants, the jury calculated their economic damages as the present value calculation of the pension differential created by the lower rank. For the lead plaintiff, that meant an award of $276,000 in economic damages. As the judge noted, though, there was a problem. The employees had received lump-sum awards and would be required to pay taxes on those lump sums in one year, as opposed to “paying taxes on smaller amounts spread across past and future years.” This obligation to pay taxes on the lump sum in one year created “adverse tax consequences” for the employees.

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Legal News GavelTax laws can be complicated in some areas. There may be various reasons why you owe taxes on a particular sum, even though that might seem counter-intuitive or just plain wrong. For example, what about attorneys’ fees and court costs in a successful workplace discrimination lawsuit? Currently, you could owe taxes on sums even though that money went to someone else. However, if a group of New Jersey legislators are successful, that will change. Senate Bill 784 would change the tax laws and end the double-taxation of attorneys’ fees in your employment discrimination case. Whether or not this new bill becomes law, you should not let the tax laws discourage you from seeking to protect your rights if you’ve suffered from discrimination at work. Contact a knowledgeable New Jersey employment discrimination attorney to discuss which options are available to you.

Imagine it:  you were harmed professionally due to workplace discrimination. You retained skilled counsel to represent you. You sued in court under the Law Against Discrimination, and you won. The trial court awarded you compensation for your damages. Your attorney, having represented you diligently and successfully, was owed for the work he or she provided, and you happily paid. However, when tax time comes around, you discover that you owe taxes for an amount that never went to you but instead went to your attorney. (FYI, not only did you pay taxes on that amount, but your attorney did as well.)

SB 784, sponsored by three Republicans and one Democrat, would change that. The federal government has already taken action to fix this problem in federal litigation. In 2004, President Bush signed into law the Civil Rights Tax Relief Act, a bill that gave litigants a tax deduction that wiped out the tax obligations they previously owed. Under the modified federal law, attorneys’ fees in cases like employment discrimination actions are subject only to single taxation, which is paid by the attorney who actually received that money.

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Legal News GavelThe New Jersey Law Against Discrimination provides protection to many types of New Jersey workers. Most people know that you can sue for discrimination based upon race or gender. However, what discrimination based upon being a divorcee? Or being a recovering drug addict? A recent case involving a semi-famous investment broker offered some useful knowledge in this area of less-well-known protected classes, as well as situations in which you can take your claim to court even if your employer put an arbitration agreement in place. Both of these issues come back to one fundamental lesson: if you believe you were the victim of improper discrimination at work, contact a knowledgeable New Jersey discrimination attorney right away. Even if you are not sure if you have a case, your attorney can give you beneficial information and also potentially provide advantageous strategies for your case.

The employee in the recent discrimination case, Craig, had been many things in his life. In his younger years, he was a somewhat notorious event crasher, having “crashed” the Grammy awards, the opening night of The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and backstage at the Live Aid benefit concert in Philadelphia. Craig was a successful broker, having amassed a decades-long Wall Street career. Craig was also a recovered addict. Having achieved a degree of notoriety for his crashing adventures, Craig decided to publish his biography in 2017.

Before the book was released, the broker, who was a manager at his employer’s Red Bank office, presented the memoir to the investment bank. Even though the broker’s intoxicated exploits happened in the 1980s and he entered recovery in 1990 (16 years before he started working for the employer,) the employer responded very negatively to the book. The employer allegedly demanded changes to the manuscript and also made threats to the broker’s employment. Just a few months later, the employer fired the broker.

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Legal News GavelIf you follow the news as it relates to politics and the law, you are probably familiar with the many stories about federal courts wrestling with questions regarding how far the protections of federal anti-discrimination law extend, particularly as it relates to sexual orientation and gender identity. Fortunately for workers here, New Jersey has a state law that extends the legal prohibitions against discrimination even further than the federal law does. As a worker in New Jersey, the Law Against Discrimination protects you from a wide array of forms of discrimination at work. Whether you’ve been fired, demoted, denied promotion, harassed, or otherwise harmed at work due to discrimination, you may have a claim for recovery through a civil action under the Law Against Discrimination. To find out more about your rights and how you can potentially obtain monetary compensation due to workplace discrimination, you should reach out to a knowledgeable New Jersey employment discrimination attorney.

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination was originally signed into law in 1945. In the nearly 75 years since then, it has been amended several times to expand the range of protections it offers. Most people probably know that this law protects workers from employment discrimination based on race, sex, creed/religion, national origin, age, and disability. However, New Jersey’s does much more.

As noted above, while the federal courts are wrangling with the exact boundaries of the federal anti-discrimination law (Title VII) regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, in New Jersey there is no doubt, since the Law Against Discrimination expressly bans discrimination at work based upon an employee or employment candidate’s gender identity or sexual orientation.

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Legal News GavelAn old saying cautions, “Be careful what you wish for…you just might get it.” Along a similar line, it is also extremely important, particularly when it comes to legal matters, to be careful about what you consent to do because you just might be unable to change your mind later. One area in which this can be true is when it comes to entering an agreement to arbitrate your New Jersey discrimination case. Before you agree to arbitrate, settle, or make any major decision in your case, make sure you have first consulted with an experienced New Jersey discrimination attorney.

A hair products company’s employee learned this concept in a difficult way in his case. Jang, the employee, filed a complaint against the hair company in 2016, alleging that it had violated the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.

Today, many employers include mandatory arbitration clauses in their employment agreements. These provisions say that if you, as an employee, file a certain type of legal claim, the employer is entitled to demand that the case be resolved in arbitration instead of in court. Employees who have these types of clauses in their employment contracts should be sure to consult counsel before bringing legal action. The employer will almost certainly seek to enforce the clause and demand arbitration. However, if the agreement is too vague or too one-sided, you may be entitled to a court order declaring the clause unenforceable, which would allow your civil court case to continue.

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