In early February, a transgender woman filed a lawsuit against a restaurant in Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey. According to the plaintiff, she was fired due to her gender identity. This violates the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. The plaintiff worked at Sicilian Sun for just one day in September 2018, before the owner left a message on her phone informing her that she was being terminated.
According to the lawsuit, the reason for the termination was due to one of the other servers being uncomfortable working with a transgender woman, and had nothing to do with her work performance. The lawsuit also stated that the defendant told the plaintiff that it is the servers who make hiring decisions, and not him as the owner.
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) prohibits discrimination in the workplace, housing, business contracts, and public accommodations based on gender identification, sexual orientation, race, national origin, age, sex, marital status, religion, disability, pregnancy or military status.
Under the NJLAD, an employer cannot deny an application, employment, promotion, compensation, job postings, training, benefits or disability leave to these protected classes. The employer is also responsible for ensuring that employees are not harassed by co-workers, supervisors or managers.
The plaintiff is suing for compensation for her lost wages, punitive damages, and legal fees. The lawsuit is also requesting the court to order the restaurant to put policies in place that prevent transgender people from being discriminated against in the future.
When an employer illegally fires or lays-off an employee it is called wrongful termination. Reasons for wrongful termination include:
- Firing as a form of sexual harassment: If an employee is fired after being harassed, the employer is liable.
- Firing as a way of retaliating against an employee for filing a complaint against the employer: It is against the law for an employer to fire an employee for engaging in legally protected activity. An example of this would be formally filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
- Firing someone even though it violates oral or written employment agreements: Having a written contract means that you are not an at-will employee. Any violation of a written agreement or promise may be enforced in court.
- Firing someone even though it violates federal and state anti-discrimination laws: Even if someone is an at-will employee, it is illegal to fire them based on their gender identity, race, nationality, disability, or age.
Things to do After You Have Been Terminated
If you have been fired or laid-off it can be tempting to act out of anger, but it is not recommended. Instead, after you have been terminated, if you suspect some form of discrimination was involved, some of the steps you take should include:
- Attempting to find out the reason for your termination.
- Looking over your employment contract, if there is one.
- Following common post-employment procedures.
- Contacting a lawyer who deals with employees’ rights.
Cherry Hill Employment Discrimination Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Represent Victims in Transgender Discrimination Cases
If you or someone you know was wrongfully terminated based on gender identity, sexual orientation, race, a disability, or other illegal reason, you are entitled to compensation. The Cherry Hill employment discrimination lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. will help you through the process. Our experienced lawyers will fight to get you the compensation and peace of mind you deserve. For a free consultation contact us online or call 888-396-0736, our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, or our Marlton office at 856-985-9800. We represent clients in Cherry Hill, Middletown, and throughout New Jersey.