While everyone hopes that we are progressing toward a more enlightened society in which instances of discrimination and harassment in the workplace become fewer and fewer, the unfortunate reality is that they still happen. Whether your work environment is made into a hostile one because you’re African-American, female, Jewish, LGBT, Latino or for some other reason, you have recourse. To learn more about your options under the law, talk to a New Jersey employment attorney experienced in discrimination and harassment issues.
The allegations made by one township employee alleged conduct that was truly disgusting. According to a nj1015.com report, an employee experienced a near-constant barrage of anti-Semitic comments during his more than 15-year tenure with the township. These comments, which the employee endured on an almost daily basis, ranged from engaging in typical Jewish stereotyping (calling him “my big Jewish buddy,” “cheap Jeward,” and “Mr. Money Bags,” along with asking him why he “killed Jesus”) to epithets like “f***ing Jew,” “golem,” and “Jewbacca” (based the employee’s appreciation of the Star Wars movies). The comments allegedly went as far as telling him he should have numbers tattooed on his arm, a reference to the identification tattoos the Nazis gave Jews who were inprisoned in the concentration camp at Auschwitz.
In a case like this one, the employee’s claim arises from the existence of harassment so severe or pervasive as to make the workplace a “hostile work environment.” In this type of lawsuit, the harassment can be either severe or pervasive to constitute a valid claim; it does not have to be both. The harasser does not have to have authority over the person harmed. The harasser can be a supervisor, a co-worker or, in certain situations, even a non-employee of the employer.
Severe harassment based upon epithets does not necessarily have to involve multiple uses of the offending words. In a recent ruling, a federal appeals court held that two African-American workers had a potential hostile work environment case based upon their supervisor’s alleged single use of the N-word.
Of course, the more evidence of both severe and pervasive harassment, the stronger your case will likely be. Armed with the allegations of a wide array of offensive comments and epithets, the employee was able to obtain a settlement from the township. In his settlement, he received a payment of $1.25 million.
While the actual settlement included a statement saying that the township admitted no legal liability, a few weeks after settling, the township announced that it had initiated an internal investigation into the alleged harassment. According to starnewsgroup.com, the deputy mayor said that “I’m appalled that this ever happened.” The mayor said, “It will never happen again, that I can assure you.”
Sometimes, employment litigation can serve multiple benefits. It can provide you with the monetary compensation that you need, and it can also be an engine of change in workplaces made hostile by discrimination and harassment. For skilled and determined representation for your case, reach out to the diligent New Jersey employment attorneys at Phillips & Associates. Our attorneys have spent many years helping our clients to achieve the results they need in their cases. Reach us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation and find out how we can help you.
More blog posts:
What Can Be Learned from the Recent Allegations of an Extremely Hostile Work Environment in New Jersey, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, May 25, 2018
Racial Slurs, Racist Symbols, and What You Need to Succeed in a New Jersey Hostile Work Environment Case, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, Jan. 29, 2018