Pennington Employment Discrimination Lawyers
Workplace discrimination continues to be a problem in New Jersey. If you have been the subject of discrimination, you may be feeling frustrated, outraged, ashamed, and helpless. Victims of discrimination are not helpless. New Jersey has strict laws in place to protect the rights of workers. If you have been denied employment, lost a job, or were overlooked for a promotion because you are a member of a legally protected class, you have rights. The dedicated Princeton employment lawyers at the Law Offices of Thaddeus P. Mikulski Jr are on your side.
There are a number of federal laws in place to protect victims of discrimination across the United States. However, New Jersey legislators have decided that these laws did not provide enough protection—and the State of New Jersey voluntarily adopted broader laws known as the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, or NJLAD. The NJLAD provides some of the broadest and strongest protections against discrimination in the United States.
Am I A Member of a Protected Class?
In order to have a case for employment discrimination, you must be a member of a so-called “protected class.” These are legally recognized classes of people that are protected from discrimination under law. Employers cannot discriminate against employees or job applicants on the basis of:
- The Federal Civil Rights Act protects employees from being treated differently on the basis of their race or skin color. The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights handles complaints of racial discrimination in New Jersey. Claims must be made within 180 days of the alleged violation. If the 180 days have passed, a victim still has up to two years to file a lawsuit in court. Employers who violate the NJLAD can be penalized up to $50,000 and ordered to pay the victim of discrimination back pay, damages, and reinstatement (if the victim lost their job).
- National Origin. The Civil Rights Act also protects victims of discrimination based on national origin. This protection extends to employees who have been discriminated against upon the national origin of their spouse.
- Pursuant to federal law, employees and applicants cannot be treated differently because of their religion, perceived religion, the religion of their spouse, or their affiliation with a certain religious group. Employers must make “reasonable accommodations” for employees’ religious practices. The NJLAD even requires employers to provide break time for prayer or observation of religious holidays. Further, employers cannot forbid religious head coverings or other garments, although there are certain limited exceptions to this rule.
- Pregnancy status. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act provides that employers cannot discriminate on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or other related medical condition. Women who intend to become pregnant also cannot be overlooked for employment. The NJLAD requires employers to offer pregnant women certain accommodations, so long as they do not impose an undue hardship on the employer.
- Disabled individuals are protected under the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), even if their impairment is temporary or minor. In addition, the NJLAD forbids employers from discriminating on disability; even if it is was in the past (for example, cancer that has gone into remission). “Disability” encompasses many conditions in New Jersey, including epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and depression.
- The Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) makes it illegal for employers with 20 or more employees to discriminate against those age 40 or older. The NJLAD provides even greater protections, with no specific age threshold.
- Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Transgender Status. Although there are no federal protections for people in this class, New Jersey protects employers from discriminating against gay, lesbian, queer, transgender, or bisexual employees, or those who are perceived as such.
- Citizenship status. Resident aliens and other legal immigrants are a protected class.
- Marital status.
- AIDS/HIV status.
- Military service status.
- Unemployed status.
Is my Employer Subject to These Laws?
Federal anti-discrimination laws generally apply to employers with 4 to 20 employees, depending on the specific law. The NJLAD applies to companies with just one employee or more.
Pennington Employment Lawyers at the Law Offices of Thaddeus P. Mikulski Jr Represent Victims of Employment Discrimination
Victims of employment discrimination have legal recourse. If you have suffered adverse employment action as a result of some trait, characteristic, or association with a person or group, the Princeton employment lawyers at the Law Offices of Thaddeus P. Mikulski Jr can help. Call us at 609-303-0222 or contact us online today. We fight for victims of employment discrimination in Central Jersey and Pennsylvania.