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New Jersey Transit Employee Wins Her Age and Race Discrimination Lawsuit and a $848,000 Damages Award

Weighing a decision to pursue a discrimination lawsuit can be incredibly stressful. If you’re suing your current employer, it may feel terrifying to contemplate taking the entity responsible for your livelihood to court. Even if your discrimination came at the hands of a former employer, you may fear that a discrimination lawsuit will “follow” you around, leaving you blackballed in your industry. It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to discrimination but, with the right New Jersey employment attorney, you can succeed and potentially recover a substantial sum in compensation for your damages.

An example of that occurred recently when an employee of New Jersey’s state-owned public transportation system sued her employer… and won. As reported by, the plaintiff, O.A., was 20+-year employee of NJ Transit who, in 2013, applied for the position of senior director. According to the report, the position required 8 years of transportation experience plus a degree in “bachelor’s degree in planning, engineering, public administration, economics or business.”

O.A., in addition to her two-plus decades of transportation experience, also had the relevant education experience, including two master’s degrees, according to the report. The successful candidate was a woman who had zero prior transportation experience and a bachelor’s degree in political science. The successful candidate was white (O.A. was African American,) and was also much younger than O.A.

Based on what happened, O.A. made the decision to go to court. When you decide to take that momentous step and sue, it is important to have as much evidence as possible to yield the most persuasive case possible. In O.A.’s case, she had proof that she met the education and professional experience requirements of the job (and then some,) while the successful candidate had neither the relevant education nor the professional experience supposedly required for the job. That, her attorney argued to the jury, proved that the hiring decision was the result of race and age discrimination.

If you have additional relevant evidence that further casts the motives of your employee in a negative light, that can further strengthen your case by bolstering your credibility with the jury and diminishing your employer’s. In O.A.’s employment, she had, according to her attorney, never been disciplined for anything in 24 years on the job. That is, until two weeks before the start of O.A.’s discrimination trail, when the employer allegedly placed her on a “performance improvement plan,” which is a precursor to firing an employee.

All of this added up to a case that the jury found very persuasive, leading the jury to find the employer liable for race and age discrimination, and to award the employee damages in the amount of $848,000.

Deciding whether or not to go to court after you’ve been the victim of workplace age discrimination can be a daunting and intimidating choice. However, for those who do go forward and win, the benefits can be massive – both for the discriminated worker and for others, too. To learn more about how to achieve legal success in your discrimination case, reach out to the skilled New Jersey employment attorneys at Phillips & Associates. Contact 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 reach the positive result you need.

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