So, you have taken steps toward holding your employer accountable for some wrongdoing on their part. This is great and there are many legal remedies available to workers who have been wronged by their employers. The road ahead, however, can be anxiety-inducing as you confront your employer and the legal process.
Much of this stress and fear of the future can be assuaged with information. Knowing what you are up against and what the road ahead will look like is important both for peace of mind and for preparation purposes. Such information can run a range from how the process will play out to where you will actually bring your employment discrimination suit.
Understanding Where to Sue for Employment Discrimination
Deciding where to file a New Jersey employment discrimination lawsuit can be complicated. Of course, you can narrow down the selection process by zeroing in on the courts that would have the legal authority to hear your case, otherwise known as “jurisdiction.” A court with jurisdiction over your case will not only have legal authority to hear the case but also to make decisions and issue rulings that will impact the defendant.
The appropriate court will not only have jurisdiction but will also be a proper venue for your case. The venue of the case is the court location. There needs to be some kind of connection between the case circumstances or either party to the case and venue. To be fair, most of the time jurisdiction and venue are going to be easy to determine. There is, however, the occasional case where such determinations can be difficult. This is especially true when the parties are across county or state lines.
On a broader level, you may also have the choice between bringing your employment discrimination claim in state or federal court. Much of this will be dictated by what legal violation you are seeking redress for. For instance, you will likely want to file in state court if you are pursuing a claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD). The LAD provides state-level protections against discrimination on the basis of certain protected classes. It also provides whistleblower protections against retaliatory actions an employer may take against an employee who reports an unlawful act or assists in an investigation of such acts.
The LAD specifies that a person filing a claim under this law may file suit in New Jersey Superior Court. You would then look to the New Jersey Rules of Court to determine the proper venue for your suit. This would be in one of three counties:
- The county where the events that led to the lawsuit occurred;
- The county where either the plaintiff or the defendant of the lawsuit resides; or
- The county where the out-of-state defendant was served with a summons.
Alternatively, you may wish to file in federal court pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII dictates that such a suit should be filed in a U.S. district court in the district where one of the following is located:
- Where the alleged violation took place;
- Where the relevant employment records are located;
- Where the plaintiff would have worked had the alleged violation not occurred; or
- Where the employer’s main office is located.
New Jersey Employment Law Attorneys
Stressed about your employment discrimination claim? Don’t worry, the dedicated team at Castronovo & McKinney will be here for you every step of the way. Contact us today.