When you have been the victim of workplace discrimination and were constructively discharged in New Jersey, there are several things that you will need, in terms of evidence, in order to achieve a successful result. As one example, the law requires you to have done everything reasonable in your power to remain employed. If your employer has proof that seems to show you didn’t, you’re going to need sufficient proof to overcome that, or else you may not be able to get the compensation you need.
As with many cases, it comes down to having strong evidence that supports your position and effective proof that blunts what your employer is trying to assert. To make sure you have everything you need to prove the elements of your case, be sure one of the things you have is legal representation from a skilled New Jersey employment attorney.
C.L. was someone asserting a discrimination claim and a constructive discharge in New Jersey. During her first year as a medical resident, C.L. became pregnant. Late in her first year of residency, the resident miscarried and missed the final three months of that first year. Despite the absence, the program advanced C.L. to second-year resident status, including the corresponding raise in pay.
The resident requested a leave of absence later that fall, allegedly due to depression and “hostile work environment.” When the period of leave was nearly expired, the program corresponded with the resident. C.L. indicated that her treating physician had not cleared her to resume working. The program asked for paperwork from C.L.’s doctor, but the documentation was never submitted to the employer.
C.L. asked for information about filing a workers’ compensation claim. The employer emailed C.L. to facilitate filing such a claim, but the resident never replied to that email. By January, the employer terminated C.L., indicating that she could reapply when she was able to return to work.
The resident did not reapply, and she did not appeal the termination, which she was entitled to do under the employer’s procedures.
Discrimination based on a worker’s miscarriage is pregnancy discrimination
C.L. sued, alleging sex discrimination, pregnancy discrimination and disability discrimination. An important thing to note in C.L.’s case is the inclusion of a pregnancy discrimination claim. The legal provisions that prohibit pregnancy discrimination, both under federal law and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, bar employers from discriminating against a worker due to a condition connected to her being pregnant or having been pregnant. So, just as employers cannot discriminate against breastfeeding mothers, they also cannot discriminate against women who have issues related to their recent miscarriages.
Despite that, C.L. still had a problem with her lawsuit, as her case lacked a viable adverse employment action. She asserted she was constructively discharged because her work environment was so hostile that she could not continue working. To succeed in a constructive discharge case, you have to show that you “did everything reasonably necessary to remain employed rather than quit.”
C.L. didn’t have that evidence that she did everything reasonably necessary. The resident never ensured that her treating physician provided the employer with the necessary paperwork to extend her period of medical leave, she did not reply to the employer’s offers to help her with submitting a workers’ compensation claim, she did not appeal her termination from the residency program and she did not reapply to the program. As a result, her discrimination case could not succeed in court.
This employee lost her case, but lost due to some uniquely unfavorable facts related to her extreme levels of uncooperative behavior with her employer. For a lot of people who are the victims of workplace discrimination, it is the employer, not the employee, who fails to interact in good faith.
When your employer has failed to provide you with an appropriate accommodation, or has ignored entirely your requests to accommodate your pregnancy-related condition, you may be entitled to pregnancy discrimination compensation. The hardworking New Jersey employment attorneys at Phillips & Associates are here to help when that happens. Our attorneys know the law and the courts in New Jersey and know how to get successful results for our Garden State discrimination and harassment clients. Contact us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation and to find out how our knowledgeable attorneys can serve you.