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Title VII, Title IX and Choosing the Right Federal Court in Which to Pursue Your New Jersey Sex Discrimination Case

If you have been harmed by sex discrimination at work, you perhaps know that you may be able to sue and seek compensation in federal court under a federal law called “Title VII.” However, what you may not have known is that, in New Jersey, you potentially may be able file in federal court and pursue sex discrimination damages not just under Title VII, but also Title IX. This option is not available in all federal courts everywhere in the country, so if you have a federal discrimination case that you potentially can file in multiple different places, it may be advantageous to go forward in the District of New Jersey. Choosing the right court in which to file is one of many vitally important decisions that must be made during your case, so make sure you have a knowledgeable New Jersey sex discrimination attorney representing you from the very start.

One recent example of what a difference state boundaries can make came from the federal trial court in Connecticut. A female college professor was denied tenure and sued for sex discrimination, asserting a claim under federal Title IX. She lost, as the federal judge ruled that the professor couldn’t advance this kind of sex discrimination case under a Title IX claim.

At this point, you may be thinking, that sounds discouraging… how is that case and that outcome good news for me in New Jersey? The answer to that question lies in two legal concepts called jurisdiction and venue. When you decide to proceed in court, you have to file your case someplace where the court has jurisdiction, which means someplace where the judge has the authority to issue a judgment and or order that is legally binding on the parties. You also have to choose a court where venue is appropriate.

Sometimes, a case may have multiple courts where both jurisdiction and venue are proper. When that happens, it pays to know the law in each place and then pick the court where the law is the most favorable to you.

Choosing the right place may make a huge difference. Look at the professor’s case. She was seeking to recover sex-discrimination damages under a Title IX claim. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals, whose decisions are binding on federal cases filed in New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and the Virgin Islands (and only those places,) has explicitly ruled that workers can pursue “sex-based employment discrimination claims brought under Title IX.”

A worker with the same facts and same claims likely would have fared better in New Jersey

So, this professor could not proceed with her Title IX case in her federal lawsuit in Connecticut. The good news for New Jersey workers is that a hypothetical professor’s case where all the facts were the same except that the plaintiff was a professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology instead of Wesleyan College in Connecticut would have had the extra option of a Title IX claim.

As noted above, a case where there are procedural considerations (like a lawsuit that can permissibly be filed in various different places,) is the kind of case where having a knowledgeable legal team is extremely valuable. If, say, you had the choice of filing in New Jersey versus Texas or New Jersey versus Illinois, it would be exceedingly valuable to know that the Third Circuit has approved of this kind of Title IX discrimination claim, while the Fifth and Seventh Circuit have expressly disapproved.

Procedural complexities are one of the many reasons why it pays to have a knowledgeable and experienced legal team on your side. The skilled New Jersey sex discrimination attorneys at Phillips & Associates are here to give you the kind of strong representation upon which you can confidently rely. Our attorneys have many years of handling New Jersey workers’ cases successfully in taking on employers, third parties and others as a result of workplace discrimination or harassment. Contact us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation.

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