Proposed NJ Employment Law Would Protect Unpaid Interns from Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation

New Jersey law protects employees from many forms of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. But it does not protect unpaid interns because the law finds that they are not employees due to the lack of a paycheck for their work. A bill sponsored by Senator Nia Gill, S-3064, would change that.  If the bill becomes law, it would provide interns with protection under the Law Against … [Read more...]

Interns Can’t Sue for Sexual Harassment on the Job | NJ Sexual Harassment

A federal court in New York ruled last week that an intern at a TV broadcasting company could not sue for workplace sexual harassment under New York state and city laws because she was not paid and therefore not an employee. See Wang v. Phoenix Satellite Television. The intern alleged that the broadcaster’s Washington, DC bureau chief hugged her, tried to kiss her and “squeezed her buttocks with … [Read more...]

Jury Awards $280,000 for Black Manager’s Racial Slurs Toward Black Co-Worker| NJ Discrimination Laws

If a black manager uses the N-word in speaking with another black employee, does that create a hostile work environment?  Yes, according to a federal jury in New York. Jurors awarded Brandi Johnson $250,000 in compensatory damages and $30,000 in punitive damages after finding that her manager’s four-minute rant about proper work attire was hostile and discriminatory.  The manager, Rob Carmona, … [Read more...]

Wall Street Race Discrimination Lawsuit Settles for $160 Million

  A racial discrimination class action filed by 1,200 black stock brokers against Merrill Lynch is set to settle for $160 million.  If approved by the federal court in Chicago, the settlement would be one of the largest ever in a racial discrimination case. The class action alleged a pattern of discrimination that resulted in the plaintiffs earning less money than white men at the company.  The … [Read more...]

NJ “Borgata Babes” Can Be Fired for Gaining Weight, Says Judge | NJ Weight Discrimination Lawyers

Workplace discrimination due to weight is not illegal.  Last week, Superior Court Judge Nelson Johnson granted summary judgment for the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and dismissed a weight discrimination case brought by 22 cocktail waitresses known as the “Borgata Babes.” The waitresses argued that the casino viewed them as sex objects who were forced to submit to weigh-ins and suspensions … [Read more...]

Cable Company Accused by Federal Agency of Union-Busting | NJ Lawyers

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) plans to file a complaint charging Cablevision with making illegal threats and offering improper incentives to its workers in the Bronx to discourage them from forming a union.  As part of the complaint, the NLRB accused Cablevision’s chief executive of illegally telling workers that they would be excluded from training and job opportunities if they voted … [Read more...]

Retaliatory Harassment by Coworkers Violates NJ Whistleblower Law

An employee named Howard Flecker filed a claim against his employer for unpaid wages.  The employer then sent all employees a memo that everyone's hours (and, therefore, pay) would be cut because of his unpaid wages claim.   The New Jersey Appellate Division ruled that the employer violated New Jersey's whistleblower law, known as CEPA, by "creating a hostile work environment through a memorandum … [Read more...]

Wal-Mart Sex Discrimination Class Action Renewed

Wal-Mart is again facing an 11-year-old sex discrimination class action brought by workers in San Francisco after the Supreme Court earlier prohibited a lawsuit representing female Wal-Mart employees nationwide. In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the women proposed a smaller class size. The reduced class “could be certified,” federal Judge Charles Breyer wrote, if it made a “showing … [Read more...]

Judge Suspended for Four Months Without Pay for Sexual Harassment in NJ

A New Jersey Superior Court judge who fondled court employees during a holiday party was suspended without pay for four months.  The Supreme Court of New Jersey also ordered Judge Marquis Jones Jr. to attend alcohol counseling because he blamed his inability to recall his conduct on drunkenness.  According to the administrative record, Judge Jones inappropriately touched and made sexually … [Read more...]

Retaliation For Complaining About Conditions to Pump Milk

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to require employers to allow employees to express milk, or as referred to by most people as pumping milk.  The PPACA does not provide a private cause of action that would allow an employee to file a lawsuit.  However, an employee who suffers retaliation as a result of complaining about the lack of breast milk … [Read more...]

Disciplinary Harassment Is Retaliation Against a Whistleblower in New Jersey

Typically, to support a case of retaliation for blowing the whistle on illegal employer conduct, an employee must suffer some loss of money which lawyers call an “adverse employment action.”  But the New Jersey Appellate Division ruled last week that a New Jersey State Trooper who was subjected to “four or five disciplinary charges” in a few months could sue under New Jersey’s whistleblower law, … [Read more...]

Sexual Harassment By A Supervisor

If you were sexually harassed by a supervisor in New Jersey, then your employer may be liable for the sexual harassment despite not learning of the harassment your our lack of filing a complaint regarding the harassment.  A supervisor who controls the workplace and is given the authority at the job to oversee employees will be considered an agent of the employer.  The supervisor will create … [Read more...]

It Is Not Illegal For Your Employer To Bully You

Many people believe that it is illegal in New Jersey for a boss or supervisor to bully their subordinates. This is certainly unfair and should not be permitted by the company. However, New Jersey Employment Law does not protect employees from bullying and the hostile work environment that people experience as a result of the bullying. It is only illegal if you can demonstrate that the bullying was … [Read more...]

Is This Illegal Harassment? | NJ Harassment Lawyers

We received numerous phone calls a day from potential clients asking whether the harassment they are experiencing at work is illegal.  Most assume that it is illegal because it is completely unfair, degrading and abusive.  However, NJ Harassment Law does not protect harassment unless the harassment is either severe or pervasive AND based on a protected characteristic.  This means that we need to … [Read more...]

Can My Employer Give Me a Bad Reference?

New Jersey Employee Rights laws protect individuals from bad job references that are untruthful or not based on an opinion.  Accordingly, an employer can not give you a bad reference if they do not have knowledge of the bad performance and it if is relayed to the inquiring company as being a fact.  If your employer misrepresent your performance, your reason for leaving, or any other information … [Read more...]

Sexual Harassment in NJ by Military | NJ Sexual Harassment Lawyers

We have noticed an increase in calls from prospective clients regarding Sexual Harassment in NJ by members of the military.   Our NJ Sexual Harassment Lawyers are aware that the military claims to have a zero tolerance policy and that a transfer is available upon reporting sexual harassment, sexual assault or other inappropriate/illegal sexual conduct.  However, the major issue is what is being … [Read more...]

Sexual Harassment by a Customer in New Jersey | NJ Sexual Harassment Law

It is illegal for a customer to sexually harass employees in New Jersey. This is not the typical type of sexual harassment case in New Jersey and the necessary facts to prevail in this type of case is also different. You would need to demonstrate that management was aware of the sexual harassment by the customer and failed to take any action to prevent the sexual harassment by the customer from … [Read more...]

Southern Court Joins NJ In Recognizing a Hostile Work Environment Due to Age

For the first time, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans recognized a hostile work environment claim based on the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).  See Dediol v. Best Chevrolet Inc (5th Cir., September 12, 2011).  The plaintiff was 65 years old and employed as an auto salesperson.  His manager regularly called him names like “old motherf---er“, “pops”, and “old … [Read more...]

Victim of Employment Discrimination, Harassment or Retaliation – What Not to Do

A good employment law case in New Jersey (NJ) can quickly become a bad case due to certain mistakes made after the discrimination, harassment or retaliation occurred.  You should avoid the following 3 things in order to maintain your employment case in New Jersey: 1. Don’t Quit Your Job Before Your Speak With An Employment Lawyer. Contact an employment law attorney before you quit your job.  … [Read more...]

Same Sex Discrimination and Harassment

Same sex gender discrimination and harassment is protected under New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination and Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. For example, the United States Supreme Court recognized same sex sexual harassment in the case Oncale v Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc. (1998), which involved a male worker's claim that he had been subjected to sexual harassment by male … [Read more...]

What Is a Harassment, Discrimination or Retaliation Case Worth?

Predictably, the answer is: it depends.  But there are some guidelines.  Broadly speaking, every harassment, discrimination, or retaliation case in New Jersey has three components of recovery: compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorneys' fees.  Compensatory damages are designed to pay a plaintiff for her loss.  This includes lost pay and emotional suffering.  Lost pay is fairly easy to … [Read more...]

Adverse Employment Action in New Jersey

An adverse employment action pursuant to New Jersey law is a discharge, suspension, failure to hire or demotion of an employee, or other adverse employment action taken against an employee in the terms and conditions of employment. An adverse employment action is not limited to only a termination, demotion or salary reduction. A withdrawal of benefits formerly provided to an employee may, in some … [Read more...]

Summary of New Jersey Sexual Harassment Law – Company Liability

To determine whether a Company will be liable for sexual harassment under New Jersey Law, a jury will evaluate three issues: Whether the alleged conduct actually occurred; Whether the conduct was sexual harassing (was the conduct “severe” or “pervasive” enough to make a reasonable woman believe that the conditions of employment were altered and the working environment was intimidating, hostile … [Read more...]

Workplace Harassment – Is it Illegal or Just Mean?

Many people are verbally abused or humiliated and suffer harassment in the workplace, but only certain abuse is illegal.  Abuse is illegal in New Jersey only where it is based on an employee's sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, age, national origin, marital status, gender identity, or ancestry.  Harassment that is not based on these "protected traits" is unfair, but it is not yet … [Read more...]