Articles Posted in Sex / Marital Status Discrimination

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Many studies have shown that the gender pay gap is real and is persisting. There are many ways in which employers can (and do) contribute to this problem. One is by perpetuating old discrimination by basing a new hire’s salary on what he/she was making at his/her previous job(s). This demand for a “salary history” was common for many decades, but is now being eradicated in many places, including New Jersey, which recently banned the practice. If you have suffered discrimination in the form of an improper salary history demand from a potential employer, you should contact a knowledgeable New Jersey employment discrimination attorney about your situation.

Many of these statutes and ordinances banning salary history disclosures are relatively new, and are still facing court challenges. A salary history ban ordinance in Philadelphia just cleared a major hurdle when the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the city and found the ordinance constitutional. Philadelphia’s “Wage Equity Ordinance” said employers couldn’t inquire about an applicant’s earnings history, couldn’t require disclosure of earnings history and couldn’t retaliate against an applicant for failing to disclose previous earnings.

The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce sought to prevent enforcement of the ordinance, arguing that banning employers from asking these sorts of questions violated the employers’ free speech rights under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A federal district judge even agreed with the chamber, concluding that the ordinance represented a free speech violation and barring enforcement of the ordinance.

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Discrimination law has come a long way in the last half-century. As recently as 50 years ago, a major aviation company refused to hire women if they were mothers to very young children. 30 years ago, American Airlines still had a policy that called for the termination of female flight attendants if they were anything more than quite thin. For example, a 5’5” tall female flight attendant could be fired if she weighed 130 pounds or more.

Today, these types of employment actions and policies could potentially give a harmed worker a winning discrimination claim. They potentially represent a subset of discrimination law called “sex-plus” discrimination. In these circumstances, the employers aren’t committing “regular” sex discrimination, but are discriminating based on “sex plus” one other characteristic, such as sex plus motherhood status. It’s against the law and, if you have been harmed at work due to this type of discrimination, you may be entitled to a significant sum of damages, so you should take the time to contact an experienced New Jersey sex discrimination attorney right away.

Regrettably, this type of discrimination still occurs. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals looked at such a case last year, ruling for the fired employee. That employee, K.C.R., took a job in 2015 as a Pennsylvania-based district manager for a chain of adult bookstores. Her employment duration was extremely short. Her first day was Nov. 9. On Thursday, Nov. 19, she texted C.M., the man who had hired her, to tell him that she had gotten married that previous weekend. On Friday, Nov. 20, she was fired.

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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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Police officers — and law enforcement agencies generally — have come under increased scrutiny in recent months and years. Major news sources have focused extensively on the misuse of deadly force in interacting with suspects.

While that problem affects members of the community generally, there is an additional very real problem that affects some of the service-minded people who work, or desire to work, in law enforcement. That problem is discrimination and sexual harassment, and it affects a wide swath of people who wear a badge or seek to do so, including women and LGBT people. If you’ve suffered illegal discrimination or harassment while working in law enforcement (or applying for a law enforcement position,) then you should act promptly to reach out to an experienced New Jersey sex / gender discrimination attorney about your legal options.

One group that is especially affected by the harassment and discrimination that goes on inside law enforcement is women. Even today, very few women are employed as police officers. Nationally, that number is somewhere between 10 and 15%. In many New Jersey cities and towns, that number is lower. For example, in North Brunswick, where one female officer recently sued for discrimination and sexual harassment, reported that only five of 85 officers (6%) were females.

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In this space (and likely in others,) you’ve read discussion of many of the various forms of employment discrimination that exist. Some of them are fairly overt. If, for example, you discover an email where your supervisor says that you should be fired because pregnant employees are too costly for the company, then you have a straightforward case of pregnancy discrimination. Others are less direct and more subtle. For example, when employers ask a job candidate’s salary history, those employers often end up perpetuating the underpayment of employees who have been historically been underpaid in the past. In that way, these salary history questions help perpetuate the gender wage gap.

In other words, discrimination can come in many variations and shades. It doesn’t have to be something overt or obvious. If you think you’ve been harmed by discriminatory employment practices, you owe it to yourself to contact a knowledgeable New Jersey employment attorney.

When it comes to the troubles connected to salary history questions, that problem is about to become less common in New Jersey. Last year, Gov. Murphy signed into law a bill that banned salary history questions in all aspects of state government hiring. Now, the state has a law on the books that says that any employer who asks salary history questions has violated the law, has reported.

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The New York City Council made headlines recently as a result of two new bills it passed. Those new bills related to a very important, although still emerging, area when it comes to protecting employees from impermissible sex discrimination. That area is discrimination against lactating mothers. The new bills require employers in the city, who have 15 or more employees, to create an appropriate place to nurse or express breast milk. The other bill requires those same employers to craft a written lactation policy and to provide that policy to all new hires. Lactating employees in New Jersey already have many of these protections. If you think that you’ve suffered discrimination at work due to your breastfeeding, or your employer has failed to accommodate your breastfeeding properly, reach out to a New Jersey employment attorney to discover more about what options you may have.

The New York City bill regarding a lactation space set out some very specific requirements designed to protect lactating employees’ privacy and to allow them to express breast milk in a reasonably safe and comfortable space. The bill says that the space for lactation must be someplace other than a bathroom, that it must be sanitary and that it must be “shielded from view and free from intrusion.”

The bill requires the space to have certain minimum accessories, such as an electrical outlet, a chair, a sink and a surface that can accommodate a breast pump. The bill doesn’t require employers to dedicate a space exclusively for lactation, but if a lactating employee is using the room, it cannot be used for other things while that employee is nursing or “pumping.”

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Arbitration agreements can be a common part of workplace life. As with any potentially legally binding contractual agreement, it is extremely important to understand the exact legal ramifications of what you’re signing before you do anything. It is also important to understand exactly when your employer can claim that you’ve assented to the arbitration agreement by doing nothing. When it comes to these and other legal issues that can impact you as a worker, you should be sure you have a skilled New Jersey employment attorney to provide you the advice and advocacy you need.

One case originating in Union County provided some useful information on arbitration agreements, as well as on what does (or doesn’t) qualify as a valid passive assent to an agreement. The case followed a fact pattern that is probably similar to what occurs at many workplaces. The employer decides to establish an optional arbitration agreement. The employer sends the affected employees an email containing the policy. The email explains that the policy is not mandatory and includes instructions for opting out of the arbitration agreement. The email also includes a requirement that the employee acknowledge having reviewed the agreement.

In the summer of 2017, the assistant store manager at a wireless employer’s Union store filed a lawsuit alleging that the employer had engaged in racial and gender discrimination. The employer then asked the trial court to order the case to arbitration. The employer asserted that it was entitled to an order compelling arbitration because the manager had never completed the “opt out” requirements. According to the employer, it had asked the manager to acknowledge reviewing the agreement. Allegedly, the manager initially did nothing, but eventually acknowledged reviewing the agreement. She allegedly took no further action.

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All workers in New Jersey have the right, and should expect, to be able to pursue their jobs and earn a living without enduring sexual harassment or discrimination on the job. Unfortunately, that isn’t always reality. When workplace discrimination or harassment does occur, you may have various legal options available to you. Depending on the specific facts of your situation, you may be entitled to sue in state court, in federal court or, sometimes, sue in both courts. Whether your circumstances permit you to pursue one or more legal actions to obtain the compensation you deserve, a skilled New Jersey discrimination attorney can help you assess all of the legal techniques available to you and give you the advice you need.

The case of a New Jersey municipal employee, S.P., that was reported by, was one which involved both state and federal legal action. S.P. allegedly had to endure some highly inappropriate behavior related to her work. S.P. purportedly was on the receiving end of quid-pro-quo sexual harassment and endured a hostile work environment inflicted by her employer’s director of municipal services and a health official. In addition, according to an earlier report, she was allegedly on the receiving end of inappropriate “sexting” messages from her mayor. According to the employee, the mayor agreed to settle the federal lawsuit if S.P. agreed to “commit to involving herself romantically” with the mayor.

Eventually, S.P. was terminated, which she alleged was the result of sex discrimination and retaliation.

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If you’ve been the victim of sex discrimination at work, you have certain rights and certain options for seeking damages to compensate you for the harm you suffered. Sometimes, though, achieving success can involve more than just accumulating evidence, presenting a case and obtaining a verdict in your favor. You may have to defend that outcome in additional battles like a defense request for a judgment as a matter of law, or an appeal. To make sure you are ready to handle whatever direction your case takes, secure strong representation from a skilled New Jersey discrimination attorney.

The federal case of a female police officer from near Newark was an example of just how many hurdles you may have clear to obtain, and then keep, your discrimination judgment. M.C. was an employee of the department for many years. The department granted health benefits to retired employees who had 25 years of service. When M.C. retired, the department determined that she had only 24 years and five months of service time. The department demanded that she work seven more months or else face not getting her health benefits.

M.C. sued for sex discrimination. In a case of sex discrimination, one way that the allegedly victimized employee can show that illegal discrimination took place is by proving that the employer treated a similarly situated employee outside her protected class in a more favorable manner than she was treated. M.C. had proof that a male employee had, like M.C., been denied originally benefits on the basis that he had just slightly less than 25 years of time on the job. Allegedly, high ranking employees stepped in, the male employee was given credit for time spent with other employers, and the adjusted calculation gave him more than 25 years’ time.

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New Jersey law gives religious employers very broad latitude in the employment decisions they make. That broad latitude is required by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Based on those protections, you might think if you’ve been fired from a job at a religious place of employment that you have no recourse, right? Not necessarily. There are many circumstances where a religious employer may still run afoul of anti-discrimination laws and that violation may still entitle the discriminated employee to receive compensation. A knowledgeable New Jersey discrimination attorney can advise you on how best to pursue your case against a religious employer.

One recent example of this scenario was the Appellate Division ruling in the case of V.C., a teacher at a North Jersey Catholic school. The case, which received coverage from, involved a lay teacher who instructed toddlers. In January 2014, the teacher informed her principal that she was pregnant. At the time, the teacher was engaged but not yet married. Two weeks after the principal learned about the teacher’s pregnancy, the school fired the teacher.

V.C. sued for sex discrimination, but the trial court ruled against her and threw out her case.

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