Race/Ethnicity Discrimination Protection in New Jersey
Discrimination in the workplace. Discrimination in the workplace based on race or national origin is prohibited under both state and federal law.
Federal Anti-Discrimination Law. At the federal level, there is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) which prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of “race, color or national origin.” It applies both to public and private employers as long as they have more than 15 employees . In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for a Title VII case is two years. However, it is important to note that before bringing a Title VII lawsuit, an employee must “exhaust his administrative remedies” by filing his claim with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and receiving a “right to sue letter” before he files a Title VII lawsuit.
New Jersey’s Anti-Discrimination Law. At the state level, New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) which has offered similar protection against racial discrimination in the workplace since its enactment in 1945. New Jersey courts have interpreted the LAD liberally with the ultimate goal of “eradicating the cancer of discrimination in the workplace.” It is one of the most progressive anti-discrimination laws in the country applying to public and private employers alike. The LAD offers slightly more protection against discrimination than Title VII. It applies to employers no matter how big or small, and there is no requirement that a claimant first file his claim with the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights.
Three Types of Claim. For the most part, courts interpret Title VII and the LAD identically. Under either law, cases are usually brought against the employer rather than the individual. Broadly speaking, both laws cover three types of race discrimination claim: (1) disparate treatment, (2) disparate impact, and (3) racially hostile work environment.
We Can Help. The trial team at Lawrence and Gerges can help. We have successfully brought several racial and ethnic discrimination claims for clients of all types of backgrounds and have a proven track record of success. If you or someone close to you has been fired, suspended, demoted, or not hired and you suspect the true motivation was race, we would be happy to discuss the situation with you in a free consultation in one of our Northern New Jersey offices.
If we believe you have a strong enough case, we will be willing to represent you on a contingent fee retainer meaning we will not ask you for money up front, and will only get paid if and when we get money for you. (See Silvia’s blog entry, 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Pay a Lawyer in an Employment Case.)