Articles Posted in Retaliation

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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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Tax 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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In some New Jersey discrimination and retaliation cases, the employer’s action may be motivated plainly by discriminatory intent. In a lot of cases, though, employers are motivated in the actions they take by a mixture of discriminatory bases and legitimate bases. An important new decision from the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals, whose decisions cover New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, decided that an employee could use a mixed-motive theory in his case alleging that his employer discriminated against him for using Family and Medical Leave Act leave. Understanding all of the methods for pursuing your discrimination case and properly employing the right ones is just one of a wide array of areas in which your New Jersey discrimination attorney can provide invaluable aid to your case.

The plaintiff in the recent federal case was a man who took a job as a projects manager in 2008. At that time, he had suffered from migraines for 13 years, dating back to a 1995 accident. In March 2012, the employer transferred the manager to its engineering department. The job transfer almost immediately triggered a spike in the manager’s migraine problems. Just one month later, he applied for FMLA leave and was approved for intermittent FMLA leave.

By the following October, the employer terminated the manager. The manager sued, asserting a claim that, among other things, the employer discriminated against him for his seeking and using FMLA leave. The manager’s case asserted that the employer was motivated by a mixture of legitimate and discriminatory reasons, which is known as a “mixed-motive” theory of liability. In some situations, an employee’s case may assert that the employer’s motivation was completely discriminatory, but, in many cases, the employer is driven by a mixture of legitimate and improper impulses.

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The case of a Delaware professor, who claimed that her employer fired her in retaliation for making a sexual harassment and discrimination complaint, got new life after the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling in the matter recently. Although the case might require proof that the employer would not have fired her but for the complaint, that level of proof wasn’t required to make a prima facie showing of retaliation, so she should have been allowed to proceed.

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