Articles Posted in Sex / Marital Status Discrimination

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Workers who have endured discrimination or harassment on the job deal with it in a wide array of different ways. Some survivors of harassment and discrimination feel that an important part of the process is speaking publicly about what happened to them. What sometimes confines them, though, is if they signed something called a “non-disparagement agreement” as part of the settlement of their civil lawsuit. These agreements, however, sometimes leave openings that may permit you to speak out and remain in compliance with your contractual obligations. Whether negotiating a settlement, reviewing a non-disparagement agreement, or determining when and how to speak out, a skilled New Jersey employment discrimination lawyer can help to make wise choices.

Recently, a former police sergeant in Monmouth emerged successful in precisely this kind of case. The employee, C.S., allegedly was the target of sexual harassment and sex discrimination at work. Both C.S. and E.G., another female officer on the force, filed sex discrimination lawsuits in 2013. The sides settled the cases in 2014. The department agreed to promote both women to the rank of sergeant, making them the only female sergeants on the force.

However, the women allegedly experienced more harassment and discrimination and more lawsuits ensued. C.S. settled her 2016 lawsuit in July 2020. That second settlement included a “non-disparagement agreement.”

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Businesses are always on the lookout for ways to be more efficient. “Work smarter, not harder,” the saying goes. That’s also true in hiring. To that end, many employers have begun using artificial intelligence in their hiring processes. While this might seem like an ideal solution both in terms of increasing efficiency and eliminating biases that result from the introduction of the human element, the reality is far murkier. Many forms of AI are far from perfect and their flaws make them far from unbiased. Sometimes those biases result in violations of anti-discrimination laws. If you think you’ve encountered that kind of hiring bias and been denied employment because of it, you should get in touch with a knowledgeable New Jersey employment discrimination lawyer to discuss your situation.

Most recently, the federal government put out the call to employers to beware when using algorithms and AI in their hiring processes. The U.S. Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission put out a guidance document on May 12 where they laid out ways that these automated systems can unfairly disqualify some people with disabilities.

For example, some employers use automated personality tests or other cognitive screening exams to assess particular “personality, cognitive, or neurocognitive traits.” The problem with these exams is that they potentially can cull people with “cognitive, intellectual, or mental health-related disabilities,” even though those people met the qualifications that the test was supposed to be analyzing and should not have been eliminated from consideration.

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Sometimes, a case where a discrimination plaintiff loses can be just as instructive (or even more so) than an outcome where a discriminated worker was successful in court. Much like how the old TLC show “What Not to Wear” educated views about fashion by highlighting others’ faux pas, an unsuccessful case can be a “cautionary tale” of a sort, illustrating what not to do. One of the best ways you can ensure your discrimination case doesn’t get wiped out by a legal faux pas is by ensuring you’ve retained a skilled New Jersey employment discrimination lawyer to represent you.

L.B.’s gender discrimination case was one of those lawsuits that roundly failed. She worked at a bar in Morristown where the atmosphere was irreverent, and workers frequently joked with one another. Supervisory individuals engaged in this, as well.

One of the bar’s owners allegedly called L.B.by “names used to describe a person with an oversized posterior.” (The court did not specify those names.) Those nicknames appeared in place of L.B.’s given name on the weekly work schedule and, sometimes, on the woman’s pay envelopes. The nicknames may have been facetious or intentionally inaccurate, as L.B. weighed only 110 pounds and stood 5’2″.

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When one endures a hostile work environment, it may occur for many different reasons. It may be due to your race/color, your gender, your religion, your disability, your ethnicity/nationality, your gender identity, your sexual orientation, or some other basis. Other times, you may be a member of more than one of those protected groups and the harassment you receive may be based upon the combination (or “intersection”) of those groups. Either way, it’s illegal and an experienced New Jersey hostile work environment lawyer can help you in pursuing your legal options.

As an example of this, there’s B.R., who worked as a detective for the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office in South Jersey. B.R. was a woman and also homosexual. As a lesbian, she allegedly endured a hostile work environment that included an array of humiliating actions and comments perpetrated by the county prosecutor and others in the office.

After B.R.’s sexual orientation became known at work, the harassment began. First, there were the slurs, with a fellow detective allegedly calling her the misogynistic “C-word” epithet. Then there was the homophobic rhetoric, with the same detective allegedly commenting that he’d prefer that his child “die from an overdose than be gay,” as well as comparing B.R. to a pedophile by suggesting that, if same-sex marriage was legal, child marriage should be a legal option for pedophiles.

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Most all of us have heard the phrase “he said she said.” It often conjured to mind scenarios where there’s little evidence available other than the statements made by the individuals involved. When your “he said she said” incident is also a case of sexual harassment or sex discrimination where you were the victim, the whole thing may seem incredibly daunting. Don’t be intimidated, though. Instead, get in touch with a New Jersey sex discrimination lawyer who can help you map the best route forward.

One reason not to despair is something called a “motion for summary judgment.” This is something that the defense often does and, when successful, it gets your case thrown out of court before ever making it to trial. When unsuccessful, though, it opens many doors, including giving you your day in court and also, many times, leading the defense to approach settlement (if you potentially are open to a settlement) in a more fair, reasonable, and meaningful way.

“He said she said” cases are often prime examples of the kinds of cases in which the defense is not entitled to a summary judgment. Take, for example, the case of A.M., a port authority locomotive engineer who alleged that she endured a sex-related hostile work environment.

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A lot of times, if you’re pursuing a workplace discrimination case here in New Jersey, the perpetrator is the decisionmaker who inflicted the workplace harm you suffered. However, what can you do when that person was actually a subordinate? Depending on the facts of your case, you may still be able to succeed. A new ruling from the New Jersey Supreme Court is a reminder that, even if the facts of your situation seem unfavorable, never assume. Always reach out to an experienced New Jersey workplace discrimination lawyer before deciding whether or not you have a case.

In that recent sex discrimination case, the plaintiff was a female township manager who was terminated in 2016. When the township’s council fired the manager, they asserted several areas of allegedly deficient performance, including the supervisor of subordinates.

One of those subordinates was C.H., the man who the manager had promoted to the role of Police Chief. The chief allegedly had many problems, including failing to attend multiple meetings with the manager, failing to provide documentation that the manager demanded of him, and staging a police training exercise that involved an armed man in camouflage in a parking lot next door to a preschool.

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Workers can face workplace discrimination at any step in the employment process, from the application process all the way to termination. As one recent action between the Division on Civil Rights and a major accounting and professional services firm demonstrates, we do mean any step, including training sessions. It’s a reminder that, wherever you are in your employment path, if you believe you were the target of discrimination, you should definitely take the time to get in touch with an experienced New Jersey gender discrimination lawyer.

Back in 2018, a HuffPost report covered the training women workers at the accounting firm received in a one-and-one-half-day leadership seminar. According to the report, the seminar instructed attendees not to “flaunt” their bodies because showing too much skin makes men less likely to focus. The seminar also encouraged women to maintain appearances that “signal fitness and wellness.”

Additionally, according to the report, the seminar paid particular attention to discussing the supposed differences between the masculine and the feminine, along with encouraging the women to hone their feminine characteristics and avoid displaying masculine traits. One attendee told HuffPost that the seminar taught that “women will be penalized, by both men and women, if they don’t adhere to feminine characteristics or if they display more masculine traits. And that if you want to be successful, you have to keep this in mind.”

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If you’ve read this blog before, chances are fair that you have read about male police officers (and sometimes chiefs) behaving badly. Although the vast majority of law enforcement officers in this state are highly dedicated, highly respectful, and highly professional people, the problem of gender discrimination and sexual harassment in New Jersey is a recurring one. This is not something with which any should have to put up. If you have encountered gender discrimination at work, whether or not you work in law enforcement, you owe it to yourself to reach out to a knowledgeable New Jersey gender discrimination lawyer as soon as possible.

As with any sort of hostile work environment case, a police officer’s lawsuit faces certain distinct challenges. One of those may be the statute of limitations, which says that, in the pursuit of your case, you can only rely on instances of discrimination if they occurred sufficiently recently. In gender discrimination cases, that period generally is two years.

As one recent Appellate Division court ruling highlighted, though, there’s a way for you to use both the more recent and the older instances of gender discrimination you endured to strengthen the overall effectiveness of your case.

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Women face many challenges in the workplace. Studies show that people will attribute greater confidence, competence, reliability, and personability to women who wear makeup and subscribe to certain other “feminine” beauty standards. While the law cannot control what a person on the street thinks, it can control how your employer behaves and, if you have been punished at work (whether explicitly or implicitly) because of the appearance choices you made, your employer may have engaged in impermissible discrimination. Get in touch with an experienced New Jersey sex discrimination to talk about the legal options you may have.

The evidence you need in a case like this need not be explicit; even just indirect proof can potentially allow you to present your case to a jury. For example, there’s V.E., the plaintiff in a recent Title VII sex discrimination lawsuit. J.H., a manager in the woman’s office, allegedly engaged in various inappropriate behaviors. According to V.E., the manager included “very ’racey videos’ at the end of team meetings.” The woman also gave the court text message exchanges with a co-worker where that co-worker stated that the manager “seems to be ok w/ the blondes,” V.E., who was a Latina in her mid-40s, also provided testimony that the manager hired women “with a particular appearance.”

This was enough proof to defeat the employer’s motion for a summary judgment. One of the employer’s key arguments was that the employment action about which V.E. complained was actually gender-neutral. The court, however, ruled that the evidence V.E. had provided could “support the inference that [the manager’s] ostensibly gender-neutral conduct was” really based on sex.

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Sex discrimination can occur in many different forms. Some of it is relatively “in-your-face” like inappropriate (and sexually discriminatory) comments connected to gender. Other forms, such as a failure to promote, failure to hire, or unequal pay, can be more subtle. Whatever form they take, they are illegal employment actions and you should waste no time in contacting an experienced New Jersey sex discrimination lawyer when it happens to you.

J.S. was someone who allegedly knew firsthand what it was like to be a woman in a “boys’ club” place of employment and suffer sex discrimination as a result. In her case, that place of employment was the police department of a borough in Union County. J.S. had worked for the department since the early 1990s, had risen to the rank of lieutenant and, by 2017, was the #1-ranked non-veteran on the list of candidates eligible for promotion to captain. She did not, however, receive a promotion in 2017.

The next year, she again was ranked #1 on the same list, but again was denied the promotion. Each time, the department chose instead to promote lower-ranking eligible candidates. Each time, the lower-ranking candidates who received promotions were men and, according to the lawsuit, were “cronies” of the borough’s police chief, nj.com reported.

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