Diversity is our nation’s greatest strength, but too many employees suffer discrimination in the workplace. Discrimination affects all of us, so employees should speak out whenever they believe that conscious or unconscious bias is affecting how management treats employees.
New Jersey employees are fortunate that our state has passed a strong Law Against Discrimination. This statute provides people with an avenue for legal redress when they are discriminated against or face harassment at work. Employees can obtain many favorable remedies, but contact one of our discrimination lawyers in Morristown, New Jersey for more information.
It is illegal for an employer to negatively treat a worker because of a protected characteristic. New Jersey has provided expansive protections that include:
- Gender, including gender identity and expression
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Affectional or sexual orientation
- Marital, civil union, and domestic partnership status
- Nationality and national origin
- Military service
- Genetic information
- Atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait
If you have a question about whether you are covered, please contact a Morristown, New Jersey discrimination lawyer to review.
What the Law Prohibits
The Law Against Discrimination prohibits a range of offensive conduct. For example, the law makes it illegal to take any negative employment action against an employee because of a protected characteristic. Negative actions can include termination, refusing to hire or promote, demotion, the creation of a hostile work enviornment or paying less in wages or benefits. The law also prohibits refusal to accommodate pregnancy, nursing mothers or disability.
Not all discrimination is motivated by animus. Some employer policies might appear neutral on their face, such as a requirement that workers be able to lift 75 pounds. However, these facially neutral rules, policies, or regulations could have a disparate impact on a protected group. Unless they serve a bona fide business purpose, these rules and regulations can be illegal.
The law also prohibits harassment, which is a form of discrimination. Sexual harassment might be the most visible type, and the law prohibits employers from conditioning something in exchange for sexual favors. A boss who threatens to fire a worker unless she sleeps with him has committed sexual harassment.
Harassment can also exist when words or actions make a workplace intimidating, oppressive, or threatening. The offensive conduct can be committed by a boss, coworker, or others. Our law prohibits harassment based upon any protected characteristic, not simply sex.
Our state’s antidiscrimination law also prohibits employer retaliation when employees complain about discrimination. This law protects an employee even if he or she has not been the subject of the discriminatory behavior. For example, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who assists another employee in making a complaint of discrimination or harassment.
Remedies for Employee Discrimination
Various remedies are available to our clients, including job reinstatement or promotion. Other employees can receive compensation for backpay, front pay and lost benefits, as well as other compensatory and emotional distress damages. Punitive damages are also available when the discrimination or harassment is especially egregious.
When we cannot settle a dispute outside of court, our Morristown discrimination lawyers will not hesitate to file a lawsuit in court. Often, lawsuits provide leverage for continuing settlement negotiations.
Contact a Morristown Discrimination Lawyer Today
The lawyers at Sattiraju & Tharney, LLP, have ample experience investigating alleged workplace discrimination and harassment and guiding workers through the process for seeking legal redress. Please contact us today to learn more.