Articles Posted in Retaliation

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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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If you’ve encountered disability discrimination in your job, you’ve likely suffered significant harm. You may have lost earnings; you may have lost your job entirely. You’ve suffered enough; you don’t need to suffer the loss of your discrimination lawsuit before it even gets off the ground because you didn’t have the tools you needed for success. Before you start, make sure have all the resources you need, including an experienced New Jersey disability discrimination lawyer.

The reasons that the right legal representation is so important are many. On TV shows, during the pretrial process, you see attorneys digging through stacks of documents or interviewing potential witnesses. You don’t see all that goes into, say, making a proper demand for the production of documents or correctly noticing a deposition.

Many procedural details potentially can trip up your case. Take, for example, Y.R., an office manager at a dermatology practice. The manager allegedly had peptic ulcers. The employer allegedly failed to accommodate the manager’s disabilities that stemmed from those ulcers. Eventually, in early 2018, the employer fired the manager after nearly 15 years on the job, so Y.R. sued for disability discrimination.

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In any area of the law, there are obvious cases and there are not-so-obvious cases. While a textbook or a TV show might be a good place to find examples of the former, in the real world examples of the latter are more common. This is why it pays to have a knowledgeable New Jersey employment retaliation lawyer on your side. Just because your case isn’t an obvious one does not mean that it is not a valid or winnable one (far from it.) It just means that it requires the touch of a seasoned legal professional to generate a positive result.

Retaliation cases are one area where this is very true. To win your case, you need proof that you engaged in protected activity and that you suffered an adverse employment action as a proximate result of that activity. The difference between success and defeat, then, may come down to winning the arguments about whether or not what you did was protected conduct and what your employer did was an adverse employment action. These things are often much more “shades of gray” than black-and-white.

A recent federal Title VII retaliation case involving a postal service worker shows what we mean. Allegedly, in September 2014, D.G., who was the postmaster of a post office in Bergen County, experienced an incident where a letter carrier engaged in non-consensual touching, hugging her, kissing her, and grabbing her rear.

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Many ingredients go into a successful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation case. One of these is having a capable New Jersey employment lawyer who can keep your case on track and moving toward a successful resolution at a timely pace, even when the case, or perhaps even “real life” from outside the case, throws a curveball.

This is so important because allowing such “curveballs” to cause you to miss deadlines or violate rules of procedure can trigger some severe penalties, up to and including dismissal of your case.

S.P. was an example of an employee whose harassment and retaliation case almost got tossed because of problems with pre-trial discovery. S.P., who was a deputy registrar working for a city in North Jersey and also the vice president of the city employees’ “collective negotiations” unit, was fired in 2016 after 15 years of working for the city.

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Deciding to assert your rights through a legal action in court or with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can be very stressful. One thing you shouldn’t have to fear – but too many workers do – is that your employer will retaliate against you for taking that action. If your employer does that, then they may have created an avenue for you to add a retaliation claim to your complaint. An experienced New Jersey employment lawyer can help you identify when that has happened and what you can do about it.

There are several different forms of proof that can be the underpinnings of a valid retaliation claim, but one of the most persuasive ones can be the timing of events in your case. If you have evidence, for example, that your employer found out about your EEOC filing on January 29 and fired you on January 31, that may stand as powerful proof that your employer did not base that termination on legitimate reasons.

One of the most recent examples of this occurred far from New Jersey. D.W. was a dispatch supervisor for a local sheriff in Louisiana, and she was a Black woman. On Feb. 20, she gave her supervisor a doctor’s note that said that, due to her medical condition, she required three 24-hour shifts off every week.

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As anyone who’s lived long enough knows, doing the right thing something carries a price in life. However, doing the right thing by standing up in opposition to discrimination and/or harassment at work should not carry a cost when it comes to your job… but too often it does. If you have been the victim of workplace retaliation after you stood up against discrimination – whether that discrimination was targeted toward you or someone else – you may be entitled to recover substantial compensation through a lawsuit. Reach out to an experienced New Jersey employment law attorney right away to find out more about your options.

A recent case settlement making news here in New Jersey allegedly involved an instance of exactly that sort of retaliation. The employee, K.D., first accepted a job with the police department in 1996. K.D. rose to become the first (and only) female lieutenant in that police department, according to a mycentraljersey.com report.

The woman’s lawsuit alleged that department leadership routinely discriminated against women and racial minorities, hiring only 11 women (including K.D.) and 16 African Americans to its 105-member force.

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Whether you are a young person in school or an adult at work, you probably know what it’s like to be drawn into a dispute between two quarreling sides. In school, siding with the wrong person may leave you in fear of losing friends or being excluded from a particular social circle. At work, the stakes are much higher, as choosing a side may leave you in fear of losing your livelihood. Fortunately, the law in New Jersey protects many workers whose employers try to force them to take the employer’s side in another employee’s discrimination or harassment case. If your employer takes adverse action against you for refusing to become involved, then you may have a valid case of your own – for retaliation. If that’s you, be sure to reach out without delay and retain a knowledgeable New Jersey employment attorney.

E.R. was someone who sued after his employer placed him in that kind of dilemma. He was an EMT supervisor at a hospital in Secaucus. E.R.’s supervisor, R.R., told the EMT that another employee, H.B., had filed a sexual harassment complaint. The supervisor instructed E.R. that the he “needed to be a team player” and needed “to play ball and help the hospital.” More ominously, the supervisor told the EMT that, as an employee of the hospital, E.R. was required “to protect the hospital” and that the employer expected him “to help out.” Being a “team player,” in this instance, meant telling the lawyers exactly what the supervisor told him to say.

E.R. allegedly objected to the supervisor’s plan and refused to “play ball.” After that refusal, the employer allegedly removed some of E.R.’s responsibilities as an EMS supervisor and then later fired him.

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When you’ve endured discrimination or sexual harassment at work, you’re probably feeling a lot of things – anxiety, anger, confusion and fear may be among them. Amidst all that stress, there’s also a harsh calculation many such victims must make: do I report or don’t I? What happens if I do report? Will I be ostracized, demoted, fired or blacklisted?

Of course, it is extraordinarily unfair that victims have to think this way, but retaliation is a terrible reality in the workplace. However, if you suffer reprisals after you decide to file a harassment or discrimination complaint, that retaliation is, in itself, a potential basis for a successful outcome in court. Whatever kind of misconduct you’ve been the victim of, you shouldn’t suffer in silence and you shouldn’t go it alone. Reach out to a knowledgeable New Jersey employment attorney who can help you carefully identify all of your options and assess which one is best for you.

One of the important things to know is that you don’t have to win your underlying discrimination or harassment case in order to win your retaliation case. S.M.’s lawsuit is a good example. S.M. worked for a New Jersey-based bank for 36 years. She received several promotions and rose to the rank of “First Vice President” in 2004.

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Imagine you’ve been the victim of illegal discrimination at work. You sued, you won, you received an award of damages and the court closed the case. Barring an appeal, that’s the end, right? Not always, especially for workers who remain working for the same employer that discriminated against them. Too many times, unfortunately, workers who rightfully assert their right to utilize the legal system to protect themselves against discrimination suffer reprisals by their employers for having done so.

When that happens, that punishment may well be a violation of the law, too, and may entitle the worker to an additional award of compensation. To learn exactly what the law allows you to do as a result of the illegal discrimination and/or retaliation you suffered, be sure to contact an experienced New Jersey discrimination attorney to discuss the facts of your situation.

N.J. was a New Jersey worker in that type of difficult circumstance. N.J., an African-American and an employee of a New Jersey state regulatory agency, sued his employer in 2011, alleging that he was the victim of a hostile work environment based upon his race. The employer and employee settled that case, with the employer agreeing to pay the employee a settlement of $125,000.

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There are various areas of the law that can be interconnected with one another. Your experienced New Jersey discrimination attorney knows that the range of court rulings that may be helpful to you in your own discrimination lawsuit is not limited just to other lawsuits asserting discrimination claims. Sometimes, the decisions made by New Jersey courts – even in non-discrimination cases – may be key to a successful outcome in a discrimination case. This is just another example of how the skill and knowledge of an experienced New Jersey employment lawyer can be vital to your case.

Take, for example, the recent case of Jeffrey, a forensic detective for a local prosecutor’s office. While there, Jeffrey encountered alleged instances of “deficient and improper evidence collection and casework” by his supervisor and other members of the forensic unit. As a result, he filed official complaints. After that, the employer transferred Jeffrey from his position as a detective in the forensic unit to one as a detective in the fugitive squad.

The detective sued, alleging that the transfer violated the state’s whistleblower statute, the Conscientious Employee Protection Act. The employer sought to have Jeffrey’s lawsuit thrown out, arguing that the whistleblower statute requires an adverse employment action, and, since Jeffrey’s transfer was a lateral one, it could not qualify as an adverse action.

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