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How a Ruling in a Non-Discrimination Case Can Possibly Help You Win Your New Jersey Discrimination Case: An Example

Legal News GavelThere are various areas of the law that can be interconnected with one another. Your experienced New Jersey discrimination attorney knows that the range of court rulings that may be helpful to you in your own discrimination lawsuit is not limited just to other lawsuits asserting discrimination claims. Sometimes, the decisions made by New Jersey courts – even in non-discrimination cases – may be key to a successful outcome in a discrimination case. This is just another example of how the skill and knowledge of an experienced New Jersey employment lawyer can be vital to your case.

Take, for example, the recent case of Jeffrey, a forensic detective for a local prosecutor’s office. While there, Jeffrey encountered alleged instances of “deficient and improper evidence collection and casework” by his supervisor and other members of the forensic unit. As a result, he filed official complaints. After that, the employer transferred Jeffrey from his position as a detective in the forensic unit to one as a detective in the fugitive squad.

The detective sued, alleging that the transfer violated the state’s whistleblower statute, the Conscientious Employee Protection Act. The employer sought to have Jeffrey’s lawsuit thrown out, arguing that the whistleblower statute requires an adverse employment action, and, since Jeffrey’s transfer was a lateral one, it could not qualify as an adverse action.

The Appellate Division did not accept this argument. That court stated that lateral transfers could constitute adverse employment actions, depending on all of the circumstances. In Jeffrey’s case, the transfer arguably was demeaning because forensic detectives “are not like other police detectives.” Forensic detectives generally have much more extensive training and qualifications than other detectives, so taking someone with those qualifications and transferring that detective from a forensic position to a non-forensic job could be considered demeaning, which could potentially make it an adverse action.

Although whistleblower law is a separate area of the law, both whistleblower law and discrimination law have some things in common. One of these common elements is that an employee’s case will require proof of an adverse employment action. Thus, if you are seeking to file a discrimination lawsuit (or a retaliation action), it is essential to know what you need to meet that adverse action requirement. Jeffrey’s case instructs that, even if a transfer is lateral, it may be the adverse action you need to win your case. If you can prove that the transfer was demeaning and was done because of your membership in a protected class (in a discrimination case) or done in response to your filing a discrimination complaint (in a retaliation case), you may have developed several of the vital things you’ll need to have a potentially successful case.

There are many things that must go into your discrimination case for it to be successful. In addition to proof of a discriminatory bias, you need evidence that you were actually harmed in your job – in other words, proof of an adverse action by your employer. All of these things must come together to get you the compensation you need in your case. The knowledgeable New Jersey attorneys at Phillips & Associates have spent many years helping our clients achieve the results they need in their discrimination cases. 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:

Third Circuit Revives Employee’s Discrimination Action in ‘Mixed-Motive’ Case, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, Aug. 9, 2017

Lesser Evidence Burden Allowed Professor to Continue Pursuing Her Title VII Retaliation Case, Third Circuit Rules, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, July 7, 2017

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