Everyone has an idea of what they think gender discrimination looks like. The stereotype many picture involves a female employee, probably working in a job with relatively low prominence (and low income,) being harassed by a supervisor or more senior person who is male. The reality is that gender discrimination is much broader than just this stereotype, and it’s very important to keep that reality in mind. Just because your supervisor is the same gender as you, or just because you are in a job of high authority, power or influence, that doesn’t mean that you cannot be victimized by gender discrimination and it doesn’t mean you can’t win a gender discrimination lawsuit in the federal or New Jersey courts. Regardless of your job title or your gender, if you’ve suffered gender discrimination, you owe it to yourself to consult with a knowledgeable New Jersey gender discrimination attorney to learn more about your options.
The plaintiff in a recent gender discrimination case is a very good example of this. The plaintiff was not a nearly hired mail room clerk; she was a state court judge on the New Jersey Superior Court bench. During the second half of 2015, the judge’s supervisor, who was also a judge and also a woman, allegedly made derogatory remarks about the plaintiff’s gender, her demeanor and her appearance.
The supervisory judge allegedly belittled and demeaned the plaintiff in front of her staff, and was abusive toward her on other occasions, as well. Furthermore, the supervisor launched accusations against the plaintiff asserting that she engaged in multiple forms of judicial misconduct.
The plaintiff asserted multiple claims in federal court, including violations of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. After taking her case all the way to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the plaintiff got a green light to go forward with her case. Just because the plaintiff’s supervisor wasn’t a man, that didn’t automatically mean that she had no case. Even though the plaintiff held a prominent and powerful professional position, that didn’t automatically mean that she had no case.
How an action against your professional license may — or may not — affect your case
Another key “take away” from this judge’s case applies to victims of discrimination who are also licensed professionals, meaning that they are subject to actions against their licenses. If you were the subject of that type of action regarding many of the same events as formed the basis for your discrimination lawsuit, and even if you received an unfavorable ruling in that action, that unfavorable outcome in the license case doesn’t necessarily doom your lawsuit in civil court.
This plaintiff, for example, was brought up on charges before a committee that regulates “Judicial Conduct.” (The charges were brought by the plaintiff’s supervisor.) The plaintiff lost that action and was suspended from her position as a judge for two months.
However, that ruling and suspension didn’t stop the plaintiff from seeking damages for discrimination. The committee’s ruling only stated that the plaintiff broke some of the rules of conduct for judges when she secretly recorded a meeting with her supervisor and also lied about having a recording device. The committee’s ruling never made any determination that the plaintiff wasn’t the victim of gender discrimination or a hostile workplace, so she was free to go forward with those argument within her discrimination claim.
Gender discrimination can happen to all kinds of people. The range of people who can be harmed by gender discrimination spans all genders and nearly all jobs. If you’ve been hurt by gender discrimination, be sure to get the legal help your case deserves. Reach out to the knowledgeable New Jersey gender discrimination attorneys at Phillips & Associates. Our team of determined attorneys has many years of giving a voice to people hurt by workplace gender discrimination. Contact us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation to discuss how we can assist you.