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Federal Judge’s Ruling Allows New Jersey Employee to Retain $340K Sex Discrimination Damages Award

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.

In other words, M.C. had proof that there were multiple employees initially denied benefits for being just short of the required time requirement. Her proof also established that she, the sole woman, was the only one who was ultimately denied benefits. Based on that proof, the jury ruled for M.C. and awarded her damages in excess of $340,000.

Even after you’ve accumulated and persuasively presented your evidence that you were discriminated against, your challenges may still not be over. In M.C.’s case, the employer filed a requested for something called a “JMOL,” or judgment as a matter of law. This means that the employer was arguing that no reasonable jury could reach the decision reached in M.C.’s case. The employer specifically argued that the male employee whom M.C. used as her comparator was not actually similarly situated to M.C.

Once again, M.C. was successful. She presented strong evidence in the form of the wording of her employment contract and the wording of the man’s employment contract. As the court noted, the two contracts had identical language in the relevant areas of collective bargaining. This proof of identical language was persuasive enough to lead the judge to deny the employer’s request and uphold the judgment and damages award in favor of M.C.

To make sure you have the quality representation you need, call upon the knowledgeable New Jersey employment attorneys at Phillips & Associates. Our attorneys have spent countless hours working to help our clients get the results they deserve. Reach us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation and to find out how we can help you.

More blog posts:

Fired for Being Unmarried and Pregnant? You May Have a Case for Sex Discrimination, Even if You Worked for a Religious Employer, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, July 26, 2018

New Jersey Corrections Officer Receives $316K Jury Award in Her Sex Discrimination Lawsuit, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, Feb. 6, 2018

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