Employment Discrimination

Employment discrimination law is perhaps one of the most misunderstood areas of law. In New Jersey, as in most states, most employees are considered at-will. In other words, their employment can be terminated for any reason at any time or for no reason at all. 

 

However, there are laws that protect employees if the reason for their termination or another adverse employment action against them (demotion, reduced hours, failure to promote, etc.) are a result of the employer's discrimination of them. An employer is also not permitted to terminate or otherwise adversely impact someone's employment after the person engages in  whistleblowing or reports something he or she believes to be illegal.

 

In order to prove discrimination, an employee must show that he or she was treated badly as a result of being in a protected class. In other words, it is the burden of the employee to prove that he or she was discriminated against as a result of one or more of these categories:

  • Disability/Handicap, including a failure to reasonably accommodate a disability

  • Gender

  • Age

  • Race

  • Ethnicity

  • Religion

  • Sexual Orientation

 

The law also protects employees from being subjected to harassment in the workplace. This is often referred to being subjected to a hostile work environment. In order to succeed in a claim, the employee must be able to prove that the harassment is a result of his or her being part of a protected class as mentioned above.

If you believe you are being discriminated against in the workplace, have lost a job as a result of discrimination or in retaliation for whistleblowing, it is important to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side. More importantly, if you believe that you are about to be terminated for discrimination or are considering whistleblowing, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney who can help guide you through properly reporting the discrimination or whistleblowing in order to protect your rights.

 

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