Skilled Advocates of Workers’ Rights Fight Employment Discrimination in Edison, NJ
By law, an employee cannot be treated less favorably because of his or her race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, or disability. Regardless, employment discrimination remains a serious problem in workplaces across the country, including New Jersey.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported nearly 100,000 employment discrimination claims in 2012. Unfortunately, simply filing a claim of workplace discrimination is not enough; direct evidence of discrimination is required. Since employment discrimination often takes subtle forms and there is rarely any “smoking gun” evidence of discriminatory treatment, you need experienced employment discrimination law attorneys to uncover direct evidence of discrimination and to help you prove your case.
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Federal and NJ Laws Include Strong Protections against Discrimination in the Workplace
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, sex, religion, and national origin, while the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects employees with disabilities and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects against age discrimination. However, Title VII and the employment provisions of the ADA only apply to employers with 15 or more employees.
NJ’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD) applies regardless of the number of workers employed by the business. The LAD makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate in any job-related action on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, national origin, disability, or genetic information.
Under both federal and state laws, employers cannot discriminate in job-related actions, including decisions concerning:
- Demotions: An employer may not write poor performance reviews because of an employee’s protected status.
- Discharge: An employer also cannot make work conditions so intolerable that an employee has no choice but to leave.
- Terms, conditions, or privileges of employment: Job assignments cannot be handed out on the basis of an employee’s membership in a protected category.
The NJ LAD protects people in a variety of contexts, most of which are work-related. Specifically, the LAD applies to:
- Private employers
- Government employers
- Employment agencies
- Labor unions: Labor unions are prohibited from excluding or expelling a person from membership simply because he or she belongs to a protected category.
- Business transactions: A person may not refuse to do business with a person simply because of his or her protected status.
Race Discrimination is Prohibited in the Workplace
Both federal and state laws prohibit racial discrimination in any aspect of employment. The laws make remedies available to employees who are treated differently because they belong to a particular race. Moreover, the laws also protect employees against being treated unfavorably because of race-related personal characteristics, such as hairstyle, skin color, manner of speech, and cultural dress.
Title VII and the NJ LAD cover employees from a variety of racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, including: Black or African American, White or Caucasian, Hispanic or Latino, Asian, Arabic or Middle Eastern, Native American or Pacific Islander.
Employers Cannot Discriminate on the Basis of Gender or Sex Orientation
Federal and state laws explicitly forbid sex discrimination. Under both Title VII and the NJ LAD, an employer may not treat an employee differently because of the employee’s sex, nor may an employee be discriminated against because of gender stereotypes or on the basis of sexual orientation.
The protections against sex discrimination extend to job-related sexual harassment. An employee has a right to be free from unwelcome conduct that is sexual in nature. Unwelcome conduct can include sexual advances, lewd comments, inappropriate physical contact or touching, and the presence of sexually explicit materials in the workplace. If an employer creates or allows a hostile work environment, the company may be liable for damages.
Additionally, since Title VII prohibits discrimination “because of sex,” the statute’s protections also apply to pregnancy and childbirth. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) mandates that employers must allow employees who are new parents to take 12 weeks of leave to care for the child. The New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) grants similar state-based protections to new-parent employees, while also allowing eligible employees to take leave from work for the serious illness of a parent, child, or spouse.
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Federal Law and NJ Law Protect Victims of Age Discrimination
The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits age discrimination against employees who are at least 40 years old. Meanwhile, NJ’s LAD allows employees as young as 18 years old to bring claims for reverse age discrimination.
Employers Must Accommodate Employee Religious Beliefs
Federal and state employment discrimination laws prohibit differential treatment on the basis of religious beliefs. The laws also mandate religious tolerance by requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with religious beliefs. So long as the accommodation imposes only a de minimis cost or minimal burden on the operation of the business, the company must accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs.
Employees with Disabilities are Protected against Discrimination in the Workplace
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits workplace discrimination against persons with disabilities. Although the ADA does not cover a person with a genetic predisposition, it does prohibit workplace discrimination against a healthy person on the basis of genetic status.
Federal and State Laws Protect Employees against Retaliation for Reporting Employment Discrimination
An employer cannot retaliate against an employee for filing a discrimination claim, testifying against the employer in a discrimination case, or participating in an investigation into the employer’s discrimination. Additionally, federal and state whistleblower laws protect the rights of employees who call attention to employer abuses, such as criminal activity, workplace safety violations, and discrimination.
Call Lombardi and Lombardi Today for a Free, Confidential Consultation with a Brick, NJ Employment Discrimination Attorney
If your rights under NJ or federal law have been violated, you need an employment discrimination lawyer who will zealously pursue all available legal remedies on your behalf, including placement back into the job you were unfairly denied, recovery of income lost due to discrimination, and monetary damages.
The experienced employment discrimination lawyers at Lombardi and Lombardi, P.A., have secured more than $400 million in verdicts and settlements for clients in a broad range of cases, including employment discrimination cases. We have more than 35 years of experience with employment discrimination claims in New Jersey, including Monmouth, Ocean, and Middlesex counties. Call us today to discuss your legal options, or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation at our Freehold, NJ office.