Essex County, home of Seton Hall University, continues to be revitalized as many large financial institutions and other businesses have relocated their operations to Newark. That’s the good news. The bad news is that employment-related disputes have become increasingly common, including those involving discrimination, harassment, wage violations, and wrongful termination.
At Castronovo & McKinney, LLC, our employment law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of employees throughout New Jersey, including Essex County. We have a demonstrated track record of success in arbitration and court proceedings. If you believe your employment rights have been violated, you need the informed representation we provide. Contact our office today for a consultation.
Why You Need an Essex County Employment Lawyer
Taking legal action against an employer can be challenging. Employers typically rely on human resources personnel and powerful attorneys to refute employment law claims. Our legal team has the determination to level the playing field and ensure that you are treated fairly.
When you become our client, we will handle all the details of your claim, including:
- Conducting an independent investigation
- Identifying and interviewing witnesses
- Obtaining and reviewing personnel records
- Taking over communications with your employer and their attorneys
- Negotiating a fair and reasonable settlement
- Filing an administrative complaint or employment lawsuit
While many workplace disputes can be resolved through settlement negotiations, we have the skills and resources to prosecute employment litigation. Rest assured, we will work to protect your rights, in and out of the courtroom.
Common Employment-Related Disputes in Essex County
Our employment lawyers leverage their knowledge of federal, state, and local employment and labor laws to resolve all types of disputes, including:
Wage and Hour Claims
Whether you are paid by the hour, are a salaried employee, or earn commissions, you deserve to be compensated fairly. All employees in Essex County are entitled to be paid the state minimum wage; eligible employees are entitled to overtime for all hours over 40 per workweek.
In addition, employers are required to pay earned sick leave, properly classify employees (e.g. exempt, nonexempt, independent contractor), implement time-keeping systems and keep pay records. Despite these requirements, wage violations are common, including:
- Failing to pay the minimum wage
- Miscalculating rates of pay
- Misclassifying employees
- Taking illegal deductions
Given that wage violations often impact large groups of employees, many wage and hour claims can be combined into a class-action lawsuit.
There are several federal and state laws that prohibit employment discrimination, including:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
- The Genetic Information Non-disclosure Act (GINA)
- The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD)
Employment discrimination comes in many forms, but pursuing a discrimination claim is difficult because employers know how to conceal their discriminatory motives. If you suspect that you have been discriminated against by an employer in Essex County, our attorneys are here to protect your rights.
Sexual Harassment in Essex County
Under Title VII and the NJLAD, sexual harassment is considered an unlawful form of sex-based discrimination; employers have a legal obligation to ensure that the workplace is free from harassment. Whether you have been the target of sexual advances by your boss (“quid pro quo” harassment) or offensive comments by a coworker (“hostile work environment”), you don’t have to put up with sexual harassment.
The first thing to do is tell the offender to stop and report him or her to a supervisor or human resources personnel. You should also keep a record of any offensive incidents, which will serve as important evidence should you decide to pursue a claim. Remember, your employer cannot legally retaliate against you (e.g. fire, demote) for complaining about harassment. Trust our Essex County sexual harassment attorneys to fight your rights.
All employees in Essex County work “at-will.” This means that they can be fired at any time, with or without cause. However, employers cannot terminate employees for illegal or discriminatory reasons. For example, an employer cannot fire an African-American employee for his or her natural hairstyle. It is also illegal for an employer to fire an employee who complains about discrimination, exercises a legal right, or refuses to take part in illegal activity. If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated, you have a right to file a lawsuit to recover damages, including:
- Lost wages (e.g. back pay front pay)
- Lost benefits (e.g. health insurance)
- Liquidated damages
- Attorneys’ fees, court costs
It is worth noting that employers often require employees to sign severance agreements if they are being terminated. These agreements typically include a waiver in which the employee waives his or her right to sue in exchange for severance pay. If you are presented with a severance agreement, don’t sign it until you speak to an experienced employment lawyer.
Contact Our Experienced Essex County New Jersey Employment Lawyers
Although employers and employees often work together to create positive work environments, there are times when disputes cannot be avoided. The employment lawyers at Castronovo & McKinney are here to protect your rights. Contact us today so we can get started.