No matter what sector an employee works in, the law provides broad protections against discrimination, even if the discrimination occurs in public offices. In the last several years, the topic of discrimination and harassment in the workplace has dominated headlines and the broader public conversation, which makes it all the more surprising when any organization faces discrimination suits repeatedly.
Our very own New Jersey Transit has faced numerous discrimination lawsuits over the last several years, totaling over $12 million in damages paid to plaintiffs. Even more shocking, the organization as a whole faced over 50 discrimination lawsuits over a period of about six years. In most instances, a company or organization may face only a few lawsuits based on discrimination before cracking down on its policies and practices, so it is particularly concerning that Transit continued to face allegations, and continued to pay out settlements.
Not only does this point to potential problems in the entire organization’s policies and practices for its employees, but it also places a large burden on the taxpayers, because it is publicly funded. After all, the $12 million that it paid out in damages had to come from somewhere, and in this case, it came out of the pockets of the taxpayer, instead of going to pay for public services.
If you face discrimination of any kind in the workplace, you must speak up and do your part to fight against such behavior. Otherwise, your employer may believe that it can keep up a corporate culture that encourages mistreating individuals without any consequences. Make sure to protect yourself and others in the workplace with a strong legal strategy that keeps your rights secure and sheds light on bad behavior that has no place in public or private working life.