When you have been the victim of discrimination on the job in New Jersey, it is very important that you take action right away. Make sure that starts with speaking to an experienced New Jersey employment discrimination attorney. You only have a limited amount of time to file your discrimination claim and, if you wait too long, you could lose out entirely. Your knowledgeable attorney can help you identify exactly when that deadline is in your case and help you get everything you need together and submitted before that deadline passes.
Even if your case potentially seems to be endangered by that filing deadline, there may be options that still allow you to proceed. Take, for example, S.M., a teacher’s assistant. She had some pretty strong evidence in her race discrimination case, including proof that, during her 23 years in the school district, her supervisor reassigned her 19 times, which was allegedly an “unheard of” number of reassignments “given the large number of available employees.”
The employee also asserted that the district passed her over for a promotion that went a Caucasian employee who was “much less experienced and capable.” S.M.’s supervisor also allegedly had a racially biased approach to disciplining employees, taking negative actions against African American employees more often than against white employees.
The employee sued in federal court but included a state law claim that her employer violated the Law Against Discrimination. (Even if you pursue your discrimination case in federal court, that doesn’t stop you from seeking compensation under state law claims like LAD claims. You can advance both federal and state claims in your federal court case.)
The employer tried to argue that the statute of limitations had run out and, because of that, S.M. was prohibited from pursuing her LAD claim.
What a ‘continuing violation’ is, and how it can help your case
The limitations period for filing a LAD lawsuit is two years. Although more than two years had elapsed since S.M. first began suffering discrimination at work, the federal judge hearing her case concluded that her case was not time barred. That was due to something called a “continuing violation.” A continuing violation occurs when your employer engages in “a series of separate acts that collectively constitute one ‘unlawful employment practice.’”
If your race discrimination case under the LAD is based upon, for example, a single demotion, or a single noose placed in your workstation or any other single adverse action, then the time period for the statute of limitations starts as of the date of that event. If your case is based upon the total effect of a series of bad acts, then the continuing violation rule may apply and may give you extra time to file.
In S.M.’s case, she alleged that her supervisor engaged in a years-long pattern of race-based disparate discipline, excessive transfers, criticism and other acts creating an “overall hostile work environment.” That was enough to establish a continuing violation, extend the filing deadline and keep her case proceeding.
There are many things you need to do in order to achieve a successful result in a discrimination case. You have to collect the necessary evidence to demonstrate your claim. You also have to clear all the procedural hurdles, such as filing on time. To make sure your case has everything it needs for success, retain the skilled New Jersey race discrimination attorneys at Phillips & Associates. Our attorneys have many years of representing New Jersey workers and getting them the positive results they deserve. Contact us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation and to find out how our experienced attorneys can help you.