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New Jersey Employment Law Blog

Sex discrimination can be many things

Understanding sex discrimination in the workplace is more important than ever these days, both to ensure that you do not commit it and also to know when you should stand up for your rights and for the rights of countless others. Sex discrimination goes well beyond harassment, although that is an important part of it. If you are unsure if some form of sex discrimination is happening in your workplace, you should not hesitate to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate this difficult area of the law.

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, an employer may not treat members of different sexes differently simply because of their sex. This may entail hiring, firing or failing to hire or fire individuals based on their sex. It also states that it is illegal to offer unequal advantages or benefits to one sex over the other. While it may seem obvious because of the increase in focus on the issue in recent years, an employer may not pay men and women unequally for the same work.

New Jersey company forced to pay after unfair firing

Many times, when an employee is let go, they may feel as though they were wrongfully terminated but have no real recourse to fight for their rights — especially if they were terminated by a large employer. However, no employer should be let off the hook for a legitimate wrongful termination, and there are specific laws that protect employee rights when this does happen. Sometimes, what you really need is a strong legal team willing to stand up for the employee's rights.

Recently, right here in New Jersey, the little guy won against the employer. A health insurer lost the case after an employee objected to her termination and used the law to fight for her. The issue was not only a win for employees everywhere, but also spoke to the importance of fair treatment for those who suffer from a disability.

New York worker can't sue under new Jersey's whistleblower law

Despite some of the strongest whistleblower protection laws in the nation, the New Jersey Superior Court’s Appellate Division recently ruled that a New Jersey man working for the New Jersey and New York Port Authority cannot sue for wrongful termination, based on his claims of being forced into retirement.

The appellant, Brian Sullivan, had been employed as an inspector at the Port Authority’s internal affairs unit in 2012 when he uncovered possible irregularities in the department’s promotional exam. Acting under the protections of the state’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), he reported the problem to his superiors, which he claims led to harassment, discrimination and forced retirement. The lower court ruled that Mr. Sullivan could not sue the Port Authority, however, and would not allow the lawsuit to proceed. The initial ruling was based on the Port Authority’s ‘bi-state’ status for New Jersey and New York, making it immune from whistleblower protections applicable under only one of the states…in this case, New Jersey.

Steps you can take to close the gender pay gap in the workplace

It is 2017, and the gender pay gap continues to rob women across the country of the equal pay they deserve. While we can certainly deliberate about the cause of the unequal pay, it is difficult to deny its existence.

One silver lining is that the gender pay gap has narrowed in recent years, according to a Pew Research Center report. Perhaps from increased education and awareness among both men and women in the workforce, we are able to take extra measures to help solve the problem. Yet, the problem still exists nonetheless.

New Jersey considers protections for medical marijuana users

New Jersey has had laws protecting lawful marijuana users on the books since 2010, but new bills working their way through the legislature could add some muscle and clout behind the rights of employees who are treated unfairly because of medical marijuana use.

Under the current law, employers have no strict obligation to accommodate medical marijuana users, which creates an interesting dilemma. As it stands, many users are law-abiding citizens who regularly face discrimination in the workplace and elsewhere for doing something that is completely legal. Some may even face discrimination in the workplace for using medical marijuana in their personal time.

Maine lawmakers seek to dismantle recent minimum wage law

When a state passes a wage law with the express approval of voters, one might hope that the law would stick around. However, lawmakers in Maine are currently looking for ways to repeal a new minimum wage law that voters passed just a few months ago in November. If they are successful the minimum wage law voters chose will be modified and weakened before it ever takes effect.

While the newly approved law would not be undone entirely, many key provisions would see significant modification that would undermine the strength of the law altogether. For instance, the original law laid out a process for tipped employees to see their wages increased to the minimum wage over the next seven years, from well below the minimum wage currently. The proposed changes would keep tipped employees' pay below minimum wage.

It's always important to fight racism in the workplace

While it would be wonderful for racial discrimination to be a thing of the past, at least in the work place, that is far from the truth. If anything, many racially dangerous attitudes have emboldened again in recent months! Fortunately, federal law prohibits racial discrimination in the work place, but that does not make it easy to identify by any means.

Racial discrimination can begin before a person is ever hired, if they are hired at all. If an employer brings up race during the interview or hiring process, there is a chance that a person's race was a factor in hiring or not hiring a certain person. This is a tricky area — under some affirmative action laws, a person's race does obviously play a role. If you believe that your race kept you from getting a job, it is crucial to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to explore your legal options.

Is age bias on the rise?

The experiences of older workers in the job market lead to the inescapable conclusion that age is being used by some employers as a means to discriminate in hiring and promotion. The cumulative effect of age discrimination is hard to pinpoint, as relatively few employers are foolish enough to admit to candidates that they weren't hired because they'd had the audacity to turn 50, or 40, or whatever age the employer decided was unacceptable. A recent study demonstrates that age discrimination is a large problem, and it may be growing worse.

Call-back rate

Researchers used applied for real jobs using resumes identical in every way but one: age. Older "applicants" were less likely to be contacted for an interview. The problem grew worse as the age of the applicant went from young to middle-aged and from middle-aged to older. The group that fared worst was applicants identified as older women. Bias against older workers existed among males, as well, but the problem was less pronounced. 

Was I wrongfully terminated after my injury?

If you lost your job after filing a workers' compensation claim for an on-the-job injury, you may be justifiably angry. After all, your injury occurred on the job, and isn't it illegal to fire someone after filing a worker's compensation claim? Unfortunately, there is no automatic yes-or-no answer to this dilemma, and the circumstances of your injury have a great deal to do with how your employer may respond to your injury and recovery.

First things first — it is illegal to fire an employee in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim. Retaliatory firings are considered discrimination and are forbidden under anti-discrimination laws. if you believe that you were fired because you filed a workers' compensation claim, then you should not hesitate to consult with an experienced attorney to help protect your rights and pursue a just resolution immediately.

Recognizing signs of age discrimination in the workplace

As employees, we all want to be recognized for our skills, experience, and achievements. When an employer treats an employee unfairly because of his or her age, the whole workplace suffers.

How can you recognize signs of age discrimination at work? It is not always easy to recognize, as the signs may be subtle. It may involve one employee or a group of employees. It may initiate from a coworker or from management. Here are some common examples: