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Hudson County Judge Clears a Path for a Municipal Employee to Pursue Discrimination and Harassment Actions in Both State and Federal Court

All workers in New Jersey have the right, and should expect, to be able to pursue their jobs and earn a living without enduring sexual harassment or discrimination on the job. Unfortunately, that isn’t always reality. When workplace discrimination or harassment does occur, you may have various legal options available to you. Depending on the specific facts of your situation, you may be entitled to sue in state court, in federal court or, sometimes, sue in both courts. Whether your circumstances permit you to pursue one or more legal actions to obtain the compensation you deserve, a skilled New Jersey discrimination attorney can help you assess all of the legal techniques available to you and give you the advice you need.

The case of a New Jersey municipal employee, S.P., that was reported by, was one which involved both state and federal legal action. S.P. allegedly had to endure some highly inappropriate behavior related to her work. S.P. purportedly was on the receiving end of quid-pro-quo sexual harassment and endured a hostile work environment inflicted by her employer’s director of municipal services and a health official. In addition, according to an earlier report, she was allegedly on the receiving end of inappropriate “sexting” messages from her mayor. According to the employee, the mayor agreed to settle the federal lawsuit if S.P. agreed to “commit to involving herself romantically” with the mayor.

Eventually, S.P. was terminated, which she alleged was the result of sex discrimination and retaliation.

When you are the victim of sexual harassment (whether it is quid-pro-quo or a hostile work environment), you have various avenues for seeking compensation for the harm that you suffered. Both state and federal laws prohibit various forms of sex discrimination and sexual harassment, so you may have an opportunity to seek compensation either through a federal case or a state court case.

In some specific situations, you may actually be able to sue in both federal and state courts. That was the case for S.P. In January 2018, she sued in New Jersey court for the sexual harassment and discrimination perpetrated by the mayor. That case also stated a claim for improper termination. In June 2014, she filed a federal lawsuit that stated her claims against the other officials, asserting claims for sexual harassment and sex discrimination. Both lawsuits sought compensatory damages for the harm S.P. claimed to have endured.

A state judge recently decided that she was entitled to go forward with both cases separately. The city had asked the judge to combine the two actions, but the court refused, concluding that, although the two actions might involve some “similar legal issues,” the claims were not the same and the parties whom S.P. sued were not identical, either.

If you have suffered sexual harassment or discrimination at work, you have options. Sometimes, you may have many various routes available. To find out what all of your avenues are, and which make the most sense for your specific circumstances, consult the knowledgeable New Jersey employment attorneys at Phillips & Associates. Our attorneys have spent countless hours working to help our clients get the fair outcomes 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:

Sexting, Text Message Flirtations, and Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in New Jersey, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, May 16, 2018

A Federal Judge Denies a New Jersey Employer’s Request for Summary Judgment in Worker’s Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment Case, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, March 27, 2018

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