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courtroomThere are several hurdles you have to clear on your way to a successful outcome in your New Jersey age discrimination lawsuit. One of the first of these is overcoming your employer’s motion for summary judgment, which is a legal request that the judge end your case before it gets to trial. There are a specific set of things that you have to demonstrate and assert to the court to get past this hurdle and get your trial. To give your case the best chance of getting its full day in court, be sure that you work with New Jersey employment counsel skilled in discrimination litigation.

Recently, one New Jersey employee’s age discrimination lawsuit offered an example of clearing this summary judgment hurdle. The employee, Judith, was a human resources professional who took a job in human resources management with an entertainment corporation in December 2013. Just one year later, the employer terminated her. She was 62 years old at the time that her employment ended.

Judith filed an age discrimination lawsuit under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. When you are bringing an age discrimination action under state law, there are several things that you have to demonstrate to the court in order to achieve a successful outcome or, potentially, even to bring your case to trial. You have to show that you were part of a protected class, that you were qualified to do your job, that you were terminated, and that you were terminated because of your membership in that protected class and replaced with someone younger.

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GovernorEffective Oct. 31, 2017, a new New York City law went into effect that declared inquiries into a prospective employee’s salary history to be a discriminatory practice. Earlier this year, New Jersey took an important first step toward providing similar protections to Garden State employees. The state’s new governor signed an executive order that bans the practice of salary history inquiries with regard to all hiring of public employees. The new order, which the new governor signed mere hours after his inauguration and which went into effect on Feb. 1, is intended to reduce the gender wage gap, nj.com reported. Whether it is illegal questions within a job interview or any other prohibited practice, if you think that you have been a victim of discrimination in the workplace, it is important to contact a knowledgeable New Jersey sex discrimination attorney right away.

The New York City law bans employers from asking about a prospective employee’s current and past earnings, and it goes further. The law says that, if the employer already has knowledge of the prospective employee’s current or past salary, it is forbidden from using that information in determining the compensation it will provide to that employee. The law also prohibits a prospective employer from asking a candidate’s current or previous employers salary history questions and bans searching publicly available records for that information.

The New Jersey executive order protecting public employees similarly bars employers from asking potential employees about their current or past salaries and also prohibits taking steps to investigate how much the potential employee makes or made in the past.

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InternsAccording to some, unpaid internships are arrangements that are beneficial to both sides. The employer receives useful work without having to pay wages. In exchange, the intern receives valuable industry experience and skills, helpful networking contacts, and an important resume-building piece. Under the Obama Administration, the U.S. Department of Labor enacted rules that made it harder for employers to bring in interns or apprentices and not pay them. Now, new rules created earlier this year by the Department of Labor may have the effect of broadening the range of internships that can permissibly be unpaid. Regardless of whether you interned under the old rules or will be interning under the new ones, if you think that your employer has improperly failed to pay you for your work, you should consult an experienced New Jersey wage and hour attorney.

Previously, under rules established in 2010, the department had erected a six-part test for when an employer may pay an intern nothing. Under the old rules, an unpaid internship needed to meet all six of the factors to be legally permissible. This set of a half-dozen standards required internships to be “similar to training that would be given in an educational environment,” an experience created for the benefit of the intern, a situation in which the intern did not replace paid employees, an arrangement in which the intern was not entitled to a job at the internship’s end, and an arrangement in which both sides understood that there would be no pay.

Additionally, the old rules required that the “employer derived no immediate advantage from the intern’s activities.” This factor was, in many courts’ view, relatively restrictive and greatly narrowed the number of internships that validly qualified as being something for which the employer could pay the intern nothing.

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tropical cycloneAlmost anyone familiar with the phrases “exempt employee” and “non-exempt employee” understands that exempt employees generally are not entitled to receive overtime pay. However, what if you are an exempt employee who performs work that is potentially outside the parameters of your employment contract? In that situation, you may be entitled to receive extra pay for that extra-contractual work. One important way to protect your financial rights and get everything that you deserve is to retain a knowledgeable New Jersey overtime attorney to advocate for you.

One case of workers involved in such a dispute were two employees of the Atlantic City schools who worked during Superstorm Sandy. Sandy was definitely an occasion when many people found themselves performing tasks outside their usual employment routine. As the superstorm bore down upon the New Jersey area, many emergency measures were undertaken. The City of Atlantic City asked to use the Atlantic City Board of Education’s schools as shelters. Gary and Dewane, two supervisory-level employees of the board, worked at the shelters both before and during the storm. For their work before and during the storm, Gary received $3,174, and Dewane received almost $14,000.

After the men received their money, a state agency determined that employees like Gary and Dewane weren’t entitled to overtime under the terms of their employment contracts. Both men were administrators who earned annual salaries and were exempt from receiving overtime pay, in the opinion of the agency.

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police carA multi-year veteran of a New Jersey police department recently obtained a $300,000 settlement in order to end his racial discrimination case. The officer’s complaint centered on a combination of racially offensive behaviors and the department’s failure to take proper action in response to his reporting those inappropriate actions. If you’ve been a victim of racial discrimination, you should contact an experienced New Jersey race discrimination attorney, who can help you pursue your case and also make vital decisions like whether to accept or decline a settlement offer from your employer.

The officer in the case, Washington, was a lieutenant in the police department. The lieutenant, who was African-American, had been with the police department since 1989 but began noticing certain problems on the job. There was the racist graffiti allegedly scrawled in the police headquarters bathroom. There was also a white officer’s alleged statement that he would never take orders from an African-American sergeant, which was problematic because the officer didn’t say “black”; he used a racial epithet instead, according to a report by northjersey.com.

Washington brought these incidents of racially hostile behavior to Internal Affairs, but the department did very little, according to the lieutenant. The department allegedly took no action against the epithet-using officer other than to transfer him to another assignment.

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handshakeAn old saying cautions, “Be careful what you wish for…you just might get it.” Along a similar line, it is also extremely important, particularly when it comes to legal matters, to be careful about what you consent to do because you just might be unable to change your mind later. One area in which this can be true is when it comes to entering an agreement to arbitrate your New Jersey discrimination case. Before you agree to arbitrate, settle, or make any major decision in your case, make sure you have first consulted with an experienced New Jersey discrimination attorney.

A hair products company’s employee learned this concept in a difficult way in his case. Jang, the employee, filed a complaint against the hair company in 2016, alleging that it had violated the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.

Today, many employers include mandatory arbitration clauses in their employment agreements. These provisions say that if you, as an employee, file a certain type of legal claim, the employer is entitled to demand that the case be resolved in arbitration instead of in court. Employees who have these types of clauses in their employment contracts should be sure to consult counsel before bringing legal action. The employer will almost certainly seek to enforce the clause and demand arbitration. However, if the agreement is too vague or too one-sided, you may be entitled to a court order declaring the clause unenforceable, which would allow your civil court case to continue.

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guard towerA recent report from the Trentonian discussed a female corrections officer’s successful sex discrimination case. The jury in the case returned a verdict that awarded the employee just under $317,000 in damages. The report also noted that the woman, who was white, has a second discrimination lawsuit – this one for race discrimination – still pending. The officer’s discrimination-based legal actions highlight several useful bits of knowledge regarding who can pursue discrimination claims and whether or not you can bring multiple discrimination actions. Whether your case involves one basis for claiming illegal workplace discrimination or several, it pays to have an experienced New Jersey sex discrimination attorney on your side.

The employee, Jennifer, was a senior corrections officer at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton. According to the officer, her supervisor, Zsuzsanna, treated her less favorably than Jennifer’s male peers, according to the Trentonian report. It is important to note that, in order to have a successful discrimination case, you do not have to prove that you and the person who committed the discrimination were of different groups. In other words, a female employee can have a winning case of sex discrimination even if the supervisor who is doing the discriminating is also a woman. The female employee only needs to prove that she was treated less favorably than her male counterparts.

For Jennifer, the alleged discrimination included verbal insults (“idiot”) and re-assignment to a less desirable position (while her old position was filled by a man). At one point, Jennifer was allegedly ordered to “haul multiple food-cart loads and deliver boxes of food that weighed 300 to 400 pounds” by herself, a job usually carried out by mailroom workers. This solo assignment, Jennifer asserted, represented a clear signal to others that Jennifer was being punished by upper management. After completing this assignment, the officer developed a stress fracture in her back.

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mental illnessMost people have heard the term “bipolar disorder,” or perhaps the older descriptor “manic depression,” but they may not know exactly how common the disorder truly is. The National Institute of Mental Health’s website reports that bipolar disorder, which is defined as “a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out daily tasks,” affected nearly 3 percent of U.S. adults in the past year. Nearly 4.5 percent of U.S. adults will experience bipolar disorder at some point in their lifetimes. If you have suffered discrimination on the job due to your bipolar disorder or another medical condition, you should reach out to a New Jersey disability discrimination attorney about your situation.

What protection does the law provide to people with bipolar disorder when it comes to workplace discrimination? The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination says that a “disability” under the law can be either a physical disability or a “mental, psychological or developmental disability that results from conditions that prevent the normal exercise of any bodily or mental function.” This type of disability includes conditions like depression, anxiety disorders, attention-deficit disorder, and bipolar disorder (among others).

As people with bipolar disorder know, there are two very distinct sets of challenges they face that can affect their work. One set is the symptoms of the disorder itself, when their bipolar disorder is either untreated or not yet under control. The other is the side effects of the drugs that are often needed by many people to bring their bipolar disorder under control. Some people with bipolar disorder may need powerful medications that can have many side effects. These can include drowsiness or trouble waking in the morning, increased need to urinate, or nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

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African-AmericanWhen a co-worker, a supervisor, or even someone who is on-site but doesn’t work for your employer uses racial slurs or epithets, that potentially creates a hostile work environment. As an African-American employee, you do need to have suffered daily slurs and abuse for months or years in order to have a hostile work environment case. Sometimes, even a single utterance may be severe enough to prove the existence of a hostile work environment if that utterance was the N-word. The important thing is to retain an experienced New Jersey discrimination attorney to represent you and help you in protecting your right to be free from an abusive or hostile work environment.

Some people may have heard the words “severe” and “pervasive” when it comes to hostile work environment law and may mistakenly believe that, in order to win a discrimination case, an employee has to show that the discriminatory acts were both bad (severe) and ongoing for a period of time (pervasive). That’s incorrect. The law says that misconduct that is either severe or pervasive can be enough to demonstrate a hostile work environment and create a viable racial discrimination case.

So what exactly is needed to show misconduct that was severe or pervasive? If your only proof is a single racial slur, can you win a discrimination case? Potentially, yes! Last summer, the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings cover New Jersey in addition to Delaware and Pennsylvania) ruled in favor of a pair of workers who suffered discrimination at work. A supervisor instructed two African-Americans to fix a fence and told them that if they jerry-rigged the job, they’d be fired. The supervisor, however, didn’t use the word “jerry-rigged,” but instead a similar hyphenated word that included the N-word epithet.

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PoliceThere are many different areas in which an employer can be liable for illegal discrimination. An employer isn’t liable, though, if the employee didn’t meet the qualifications for the job in question. Thus, if a job’s legal requirements demand that the employee be a U.S. citizen, a non-citizen is technically not qualified for that job. If citizenship isn’t a requirement, though, an employer’s decision to discriminate against a non-citizen based upon his national origin could give the non-citizen a potential case. If you’ve been a victim of discrimination based upon your national origin, you should contact a knowledgeable New Jersey nationality discrimination attorney promptly to discuss your case.

One non-citizen whose case presented such a scenario was James, a campus security guard at a private research university in Hoboken. James had emigrated to the United States in 1992 and married an American woman, but he never became a citizen himself. Shortly after arriving in the United States, James started his campus security employment. The employer did not require that its campus security officers be U.S. citizens and knew that James was not when it hired him.

After a former investigator from the local prosecutor’s office became chief of campus security, the new chief allegedly began recruiting his friends and former associates to the campus force. Some campus officers referred to the campus security force as a “retirement home for ex-cops.” According to James, the chief began looking for ways to terminate him in order to recruit a friend to fill James’ position.

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