Articles Posted in Sex / Marital Status Discrimination

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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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Here in New Jersey, there are thousands of people who are employed by religious employers such as church-run schools. Those employers enjoy the benefit of the religious freedom protections established under New Jersey and federal law. That protection does not, however, give religious schools a license to engage in sex discrimination. If you’re a female teacher who‘s been disciplined or fired from your job at a religious school, and you believe your employer violated the laws against sex discrimination, you should talk to an experienced New Jersey employment attorney, who can help you assess how best to proceed.

Recently, a story made the news that involved not a teacher at a religious school but rather a parent. Back in February, a Sacramento area mom’s children were expelled from a local Catholic school, according to the New York Post. The children had done nothing wrong. They were expelled from the school after the mother’s OnlyFans account came to the attention of school authorities.

OnlyFans is an online content-sharing platform that allows content creators to earn money from the users who subscribe to their content. This mom used her OnlyFans account to post photos and videos in which she appeared nude or dressed in lingerie or revealing outfits. That content was what got her kids expelled from school.

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The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination’s employment discrimination protections for breastfeeding mothers are among some of the stronger ones in the country. A group within the University of California, Hastings College of Law placed New Jersey (along with New York) in a group of 12 states boasting the “most proactive laws” when it comes to protecting breastfeeding mothers in the workplace. Unfortunately, even with these laws on the books, discrimination against working women who are also breastfeeding mothers occurs far more often than it should. If you are a working mom and your employer isn’t giving you a reasonable accommodation for nursing or pumping, or has taken adverse action against you because of these activities, then that employer may be in violation of the law and you may be entitled to significant compensation. Contact an experienced New Jersey employment discrimination attorney to find out more.

A recent report from Patch shows an alleged example of pregnancy discrimination that is all too typical. According to an action taken by the Division on Civil Rights, the harmed employee was a new mom who worked for the Burlington location of a chain of discount vision service and eyewear stores.

Allegedly, after the new mother returned from her approved maternity leave, her employer switched her from full-time hours to part-time. This, of course, has a particularly harmful effect on many employees (including this mom) because the difference between full-time hours and part-time hours often means the difference between being eligible for healthcare benefits for you and your family, and being ineligible.

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Many industries, including the practice of law, have codes of “professional conduct” that outline the things practitioners should and shouldn’t do. When you take a principled stand at work, whether due to your professional, ethical obligations or your personal convictions, there could be a professional risk to you if that stand works against the financial interests of your employer. And, sometimes, that blowback from your employer can be worse if you are of the “wrong” gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. If that happens, you may have a potentially winning Law Against Discrimination case, so you should reach out to an experienced New Jersey workplace discrimination attorney right away.

L.P., who was recently successful in defeating a defense request for summary judgment, allegedly was one of those people. She had a job as a senior vice president and “general counsel” (which typically means the #1 in-house attorney) for an Atlantic City casino and resort. According to her lawsuit, the attorney, in the course of doing her job duties, came across some problematic paperwork. The casino’s audit committee allegedly had prepared a report that was to be submitted to the state’s Division for Gaming Enforcement that, the attorney believed, contained factual inaccuracies, according to a Courier-Post report.

Concerned about the potential ramifications of submitting a document with false information to the state regulatory body that governs casinos, the attorney contacted the casino’s CEO. The CEO suggested that the attorney write alternate language that would correct the factual errors, then present that language to the casino’s audit committee, according to the Courier-Post.

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Sometimes, the alleged facts that support a worker’s employment discrimination lawsuit show blatant discrimination. An executive manager, who emails his HR director with instructions to fire a pregnant receptionist because she’s a “liability” and also instructs the HR director not to bring any more pregnant employees onboard, would likely be proof of clear pregnancy discrimination. Many times, the proof upon which you must rely involves actions that are much more subtle, making success more challenging but far from impossible. Whether your case involves blatant discrimination or subtle discrimination, an experienced New Jersey employment attorney can help you enhance your chances of a successful result.

J.L. was someone who allegedly faced workplace discrimination on multiple fronts – both as a gay man and as a foster parent. As this blog reported two years ago, J.L., a social worker for a South Jersey school district, allegedly was the target of an extensive wave of disparaging remarks and more from coworkers due to his status as a single gay man and a foster parent.

According to the lawsuit, which the social worker and the school district settled in October after J.L. began pursuing foster parenting, coworkers began telling him things regarding how he didn’t need foster kids, but rather needed “to find a woman and have kids with a woman” or to “just get another pet.”

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Most of us are graded at work on our outward appearance, whether that grading takes place in a spoken or unspoken manner, and whether we realize it or not. Sometimes, this is quite appropriate, such as requiring certain vestiges of formality in dress and appearance at certain professional office workplaces. Other times, though, it is decidedly not. If you find yourself on the receiving end of inappropriate comments at work that relate to your appearance, those comments may be more than offensive… they may be the basis of a valid claim for sex discrimination. When that happens to you, contact a knowledgeable New Jersey employment discrimination attorney to discuss your situation in full detail.

So, what can “inappropriate” look like? Consider this recent case from federal court as an example. J.P., the employee, was a patient coordinator for a plastic surgery medical surgery practice. J.P. was also a woman who had to put up with a lot of demeaning workplace comments related to her appearance and the appearances of her colleagues, according to her lawsuit.

J.P.’s supervisor allegedly criticized the darkness of her skin (“you look like a minority”), her lips (looking “Amazon”) and her carriage (“like [someone] in a ‘wet t-shirt contest’”). The supervisor also criticized J.P.’s colleagues as too “frumpy” and one woman as “too ugly” to begin work at the practice until she had “work done.”

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