Articles Posted in Sexual Orientation / Gender Identity Discrimination

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The new U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County is rightly considered as a landmark in discrimination law, establishing conclusively that anti-LGBT+ discrimination is illegal discrimination under federal law. While most New Jersey workers were already protected from workplace sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination under long-standing protections written into New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination, not all were. The new ruling offers some very significant help for some other workers in the Garden State… and that number could grow in the not-too-distant future. If you have been the victim of sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination at work, be sure to consult an experienced New Jersey employment attorney to find out about your options under state or federal law (or both.)

Employment discrimination because a person is gay, lesbian or bisexual has been a violation of the Law Against Discrimination for nearly three decades. Workplace discrimination against trans people has been against the law in New Jersey since 2006. Not all Garden State workers, however, are covered by the Law Against Discrimination’s protections. For those people, the new federal ruling could have profound impacts.

The ruling in the Bostock case makes it clear that discrimination against LGBT+ workers is discrimination “because of sex,” which is barred under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act. This development in federal law is a huge benefit for federal workers here in New Jersey. The law says that, if you are a federal government worker, you are only allowed to pursue discrimination claims based on federal law, not state law. The Law Against Discrimination’s protection would do nothing for a trans person who’s a federal worker in Newark. The ruling in the Bostock case, however, would give that person a very viable claim of discrimination in violation of Title VII.

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In a highly anticipated decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has declared that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which is the federal law that bans certain forms of discrimination, applies to LGBT workers. Because of New Jersey’s strong and progressive laws regarding workplace discrimination, LGBT workers have been protected by the Law Against Discrimination for many years. This latest development, however, may give certain worker important additional options. This expanded array of available legal options is yet another good reason to retain an experienced New Jersey employment attorney for your case and ensure you’re benefiting from the best insight and in-depth knowledge of the law and its latest evolutions.

The Supreme Court case was actually a consolidation of three cases from the lower courts. In one, a county government employee in Georgia was fired shortly after he joined a softball league for gay men. In a second, a skydiving instructor in New York was fired shortly after his employer discovered he was gay. In Michigan, a funeral home fired a trans woman who after six years on the job, announced her intention to begin, as part of her transition, dressing in accordance with the employer’s rules for female attire.

All of these situations, according to the high court, represented impermissible forms of sex discrimination under Title VII. The majority opinion stated that an “employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”

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Nearly everyone has an idea of what they think sex discrimination looks like. Maybe it’s an employer that refuses to hire a male applicant because he’s a man, or an employer that refuses to promote a female employee because she’s a woman. Those are clear-cut examples, but sex discrimination goes further than just that. One area of illegal sex discrimination is when you are punished at work for failing to conform to a certain stereotype generally affiliated with your gender. When that happens, you should contact a knowledgeable New Jersey sex discrimination attorney and explore your legal options.

One example of this kind of discrimination was on display in a federal lawsuit filed by an inspector at a food company’s facility. Allegedly, the employee’s supervisors “constantly” called him a wide array of homophobic epithets. One supervisor derided the employee’s car as “something a [gay slur] would drive.” The inspector, despite his allegedly enduring an onslaught of homophobic harassment, actually was heterosexual.

The judge in the inspector’s case said he could go forward with his pursuit of his employer. Federal law, as it currently exists in the Third Circuit (which includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware) doesn’t recognize discrimination claims based on a worker’s sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation, but does recognize as illegal discrimination based on ‘gender stereotyping,’ which means punishing a male worker for being insufficiently masculine or a female worker for not being feminine enough. The worker need not be gay or lesbian; in fact, the worker in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case on gender stereotyping was a heterosexual woman.

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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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A New Jersey police officer’s successful lawsuit asserting both military service and sexual orientation discrimination ended with a damages award that exceeded $1.75 million, according to a recent report. While what the employee endured was terrible, the outcome of his case is educational to others working in New Jersey in multiple ways. The outcome should remind any New Jersey worker victimized by discrimination that they have options, and that those options can lead to substantial compensation. Contact an experienced New Jersey employment attorney right away to learn more about the options you have in your discrimination case.

The police officer, K.H., worked in the Monmouth County borough of Sea Girt. The officer was a member of the Navy reserves during his time with the Sea Girt police. According to the report, the officer’s chief made statements that indicated that the chief thought the officer was a gay man or was bisexual. (He was neither.)

The chief engaged in a lengthy pattern of sexual harassment and discrimination. According to the officer’s lawsuit filing, the chief:

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Followers of national news in late April have likely become aware that the U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering two cases that could vastly reshape the face of federal employment discrimination law. One case asks the court to decide whether or not current federal law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act) protects workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation, while the other poses a largely similar question in relation to gender identity.

Fortunately for LGBTQ+ workers in New Jersey, greater protection from workplace discrimination is already in place. So, if you’ve been the victim of employment discrimination because you’re gay, lesbian, trans, etc. in this state, then you should take action promptly to talk to a knowledgeable New Jersey employment attorney and learn more about your rights, including filing suit and going to court.

In the current cases, a Long Island skydiving instructor sued after he was allegedly was terminated from his job after his employer learned that he was gay. Similarly, a court child welfare services coordinator in Georgia went to court after he allegedly was fired once his sexual orientation became known to his employer. These cases have been combined by the Supreme Court.

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One common form of socio-political discussion is to make reference to the current year as a precursor to asserting that we, as a society, should be past certain un-evolved behaviors. Regrettably, the news keeps reminding us that this, too often, isn’t true. One area where the news provided yet another stark reminder of that was the case of the highly offensive and discriminatory anti-LGBT conduct allegedly taking place at one New Jersey police department, as reported by and other sources.

There are many types of discrimination one can encounter at work. Unfortunately, being a member of certain groups and working in certain professions further increases that risk. Even though, here in 2019, we might like to believe that we’ve moved past that, the opposite is true too many times in too many places. If you’ve suffered as a result of this kind of discrimination or harassment at your job, be sure to fight back with strong representation from a skilled New Jersey discrimination attorney.

This blog has discussed previously the disappointing prevalence of anti-LGBT discrimination at New Jersey law enforcement agencies. A settlement reached recently by seven officers at one central New Jersey police department, and reported by, was just one of the latest examples.

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In a perfect world, discrimination in the workplace would be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, employment discrimination remains a reality for lots of people in New Jersey. What’s worse is the extensiveness to which certain groups face this kind of discrimination or harassment simply due to their chosen profession, such as women in STEM careers, where roughly half have experienced discrimination, according to a 2018 report from NBC News. Regrettably, women in STEM are not the only ones who face these sorts of improper hurdles every day on the job. Regardless of your profession, if you’ve been harmed by improper bias at work, contact a knowledgeable New Jersey employment attorney to discuss your legal options.

In addition to the example of women in STEM careers, another group in New Jersey that appears to be facing substantial problems in terms of employment bias are gay law enforcement officers. Recently, a North Jersey officer found it necessary to litigate based upon the anti-gay bias he was encountering at his job. The officer, J.T., alleged that he was “subject to discrimination and homophobic comments as a police officer in the borough,” according to a report.

Unfortunately, J.T. was not alone. In another nearby Bergen County borough, R.D. was allegedly fired in a case of anti-gay bias and retaliation. According to the officer, he objected to a borough councilman’s use of anti-gay slurs in relation to a school board member and, shortly after he complained, the borough trumped up charges against him and fired him, reported.

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There’s a lot that goes into producing a successful result in a New Jersey discrimination litigation matter. Certainly, there is the questioning of witnesses and the presentation of persuasive legal arguments at trial, but the work that goes on before your trial is just as important. One of the most important of those pre-trial steps is discovery, which involves obtaining documents and various information from the other side. Sometimes, effective pre-trial actions lay the groundwork for a favorable verdict, while other times, they can produce the possibility of reaching a beneficial settlement and avoiding trial altogether.

Obtaining the information you need in the discovery process involves more than just knowing how to make the right requests; it also involves knowing what to do when the other side rejects your valid request. As you take on this and other parts of your case, make certain you have a skilled New Jersey employment attorney handling your case from the very start.

A case from North Jersey, on which reported, was an example of the importance of pre-trial efforts. J.T. was a police officer. According to a Law Against Discrimination lawsuit he filed, the officer, who was gay, alleged that he had been the victim of sexual orientation discrimination at work. As a public employee, the officer had multiple options for seeking information that he thought might help his case. In addition to other steps, the officer could seek to lay hands on information using statutory means, such as making an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request for disclosure, which is one thing that J.T. did.

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When it comes to negative comments and harsh behavior targeted against you because you are LGBTQ, it is important understand exactly what the breadth of legal protection is in New Jersey when it comes to discrimination law. New Jersey law is clear that LGBTQ people are a protected class and that employment discrimination based upon gender identity or sexual orientation is a violation of the law. What’s more, while it is true that (as New Jersey courts have stated in the past) the Law Against Discrimination isn’t a code for policing general civility or politeness in the workplace, comments made by co-workers or supervisors can very definitely form the foundation of a successful LAD lawsuit when those comments go beyond just being rude and instead display a clear prejudice against you based upon your sexual orientation or gender identity. When that happens and it impacts your ability to do your job to the best of your capabilities, you may be entitled to compensation. In that situation, you should contact a New Jersey discrimination attorney to discover more about your options.

A recently filed lawsuit, as reported by, provides an example. J.L. was a social worker for a southwestern New Jersey school district. J.L., who was a gay man, reported to the director of special services in the fall of 2016 that he was taking classes to become a foster parent. Allegedly, the director made multiple disparaging comments about J.L.’s participation in the classes and his efforts to become a foster parent.

The numerous comments included things like, “You don’t need foster kids, you need to find a woman and have kids with a woman,” and, “You don’t need kids, just get another pet,” according to the social worker. The social worker was also allegedly told that he did not need children, that he was not a “real parent” and that he did not deserve to be allowed to use family personal days to take his foster kids to their medical appointments, reported.

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