People in New Jersey are protected from discrimination not only by federal laws, such as the Title VII Civil Rights Act, but also by state laws. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination Act makes it very clear that employment discrimination is illegal. Of course, just because it is very clearly illegal does not mean that employers in New Jersey never discriminate. When they do, however, employees can hold them accountable and seek damages.
Just last week the Trenton City Council settled a race discrimination lawsuit that had been filed by police dispatchers against the city and the former police director. The lawsuit was filed back in 2008 when a group of eight dispatchers and supervisors claimed that they were unfairly punished and ignored for promotions by the police director and a dispatch supervisor due to their race.
The lawsuit stated that the police director sought to keep white workers from advancing within the radio room.
Although the city has not admitted to any of the allegations, it has decided to settle the suit with $375,000 in order to avoid litigation. Many employment law claims are settled out of court like this, as it is often best for both parties as it is less costly than litigation. However, it is wise to be prepared to head to court should it become necessary.
The police director who was targeted in this lawsuit is no longer with the city. Five of the plaintiffs do reportedly still work in the radio room. Those who have been discriminated against in the workplace are often wise to step forward to hold their employers accountable and stop a pattern of discrimination as well as obtain compensation.
Source: NJ.com, "Trenton council approves $375,000 settlement in city dispatcher discrimination case," Erin Duffy, Feb. 15, 2013
- More information about this area of the law is available on our New Jersey law firm's Discrimination page.