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How a Difference of Just a Few Days Can Have a Major Impact on the Outcome of Your New Jersey Discrimination Case

A civil litigation action can possibly take years to resolve. However, despite that potentially very elongated time period, the difference between success and defeat can be as narrow as just a few days–maybe even one day. Your Law Against Discrimination case needs knowledgeable New Jersey employment counsel who can provide you with the diligence and skill to help you navigate the legal system and avoid all the pitfalls that would otherwise be “show stoppers” in your pursuit of the compensation you deserve.

As an example of just how big a difference a few days can make, look at the case of J.M. J.M. was a sales manager for a major telecommunications company. In the fall of 2016, though, he sued the employer for its alleged violations of the Law Against Discrimination. As is true for quite a few employees, J.M. had signed an arbitration agreement as part of his employment with the telecommunications employer. The employer asked the trial judge to enter an order sending the case to arbitration. The trial judge sided with the employer and ordered arbitration.

When something like that happens, and you have decided that, in order best to advance your interests in your case, you definitely should avoid arbitration, then it is of the utmost importance to be sure you take action with appropriate speed. New Jersey’s court rules only give you a very limited number of days to ask the trial court to reconsider a ruling like an order compelling arbitration.

In J.M.’s case, the order compelling arbitration was signed by the judge on June 9, 2017, but was not transmitted to the employer and employee until June 30. New Jersey’s rules give a party 20 days to ask a judge to reconsider an order. J.M. filed his motion precisely on July 20. The problem was that the New Jersey rules say that the process is considered complete only when the motion is received by the opposing side’s attorney. This is presumed to be three business days after the motion was mailed. So, service wasn’t completed until July 25, five days too late.

This error was particularly costly. The trial judge had actually granted the motion for reconsideration, which meant that the trial judge was giving the employee a renewed chance to argue that the case should not be sent to arbitration but resolved through a trial in court. However, because the Appellate Division determined that the employee had acted in an untimely fashion, that meant that the trial court did not have jurisdiction to consider the motion for reconsideration and could not grant a motion for reconsideration. The original order stood.

What did all that mean? Instead of quite possibly winning his argument and proceeding to trial, the employee was forced to proceed in arbitration.

Little differences and small details can sometimes have major consequences in your discrimination case. Be sure you are equipped to clear all the procedural hurdles on time by retaining experienced counsel. The diligent New Jersey employment attorneys at Phillips & Associates are dedicated to helping you get what you deserve from your harassment, discrimination or retaliation case. Contact us to find out more. Reach us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation.

More blog posts:

Making Sure You Meet the Deadline for Pursuing a Discrimination Case in New Jersey, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, Feb. 5, 2019

How an Unsigned Release Agreement’s Language Allowed a NJ Worker to Pursue 2 Federal Claims Instead of 1, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, Dec. 6, 2018

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