At the state level, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) prohibits employer from discriminating against workers based on a workers’ membership in a certain protected class. At the federal level, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act provides comparable anti-discrimination protection. The discriminatory action must be a job-related action based on a person’s protected class membership. This mean the action could range from any level of employment starting with hiring, to firing, to promoting, to demoting, and more. If you have experienced an adverse employment action due to a protected personal characteristic, you may have a claim for workplace discrimination.
Do You Have a Claim for Workplace Discrimination?
Protected classes included under both the NJLAD and Title VII are:
- National origin
- Sexual orientation (including perceived sexual orientation)
In order to bring a successful claim for workplace discrimination, a claimant must be able to prove a number of things by proffering credible and substantial evidence to support such assertions. For instance, the claimant must be able to demonstrate that they were satisfactorily performing their job and meeting the expectations demanded by their employment position and that of their employer’s legitimate expectations of them as an employee.
A claimant will also need to prove that they were treated differently than other employees due to their membership in a protected class. In other words, the claimant must prove that the adverse employment action suffered was due only to the fact that they had membership in a specific protected class. There must have been discriminatory intent on the employer’s part in exercising the adverse employment action. Sometimes, discriminatory intent can be demonstrated with direct evidence such as evidence demonstrating that an employer was using racial slurs in the workplace. Other times, discriminatory intent may be shown through circumstantial evidence. It is also important to note that the requirements in bringing a discrimination claim will vary depending on the nature of the discrimination alleged.
What should you do if you believe you are being discriminated against at work? One of the first things you should consider doing is to file a written report with either your supervisor or HR (or both). The written report should be detailed enough that your employer is put on notice of the discrimination you are alleging. This will begin the documentation that is often needed to support a legal claim of discrimination in the workplace.
If you are successful in bringing a workplace discrimination claim, then you will likely be able to recover compensation to help cover the damages you sustained as a result of the discriminatory and adverse employment action. This means that you may be able to recover back pay and lost benefits as well as compensation for things like emotional distress. You may also receive compensation to reimburse you for any attorneys’ fees and legal costs incurred as a result of the workplace discrimination.
Employment Law Attorneys
Workplace discrimination, sadly, remains a pervasive problem in American workplaces. Talk to the team at Castronovo & McKinney about your legal options if you believe you have suffered discrimination in the workplace. Contact us today.