A NJ Transit employee filed claims of racial discrimination after NJ Transit denied her several promotions at the agency. Following the trial, the court awarded the over 20-year NJ Transit employee, Ophelia Adderley, with a $848,000 judgment. The court agreed that NJ Transit unfairly passed over Ms. Adderley by awarding the position sought to a younger candidate with less experience and less education.
Adderley worked for NJ Transit since September 1991. In 2016, she filed a suit against NJ Transit claiming the agency discriminated against her on the basis of age and race.
Adderley was the Project Administration and Capital Control manager of NJ Transit. However, in 2013 she applied for the open senior director position in that same department. Unfortunately, the position was awarded to a younger Caucasian woman. The younger Caucasian woman awarded the position of acting director did not meet NJ Transit’s educational or experience requirements.
On the other hand, Adderley has two master’s degrees, a master’s in public education, and employment experience of 24 years with NJ Transit. Even though NJ Transit requires 8 years of transportation experience and a bachelor’s degree in planning, engineering, public administration, economics, or business, Adderley far exceeded those requirements. However, the woman NJ Transit hired had no prior transportation experience and a bachelor’s degree in political science.
After two months as acting director, NJ Transit promoted the woman hired to Deputy Chief of the entire department. Adderley claimed NJ Transit did not award her the position due to her race and her age. As a result, she later filed claims of discrimination against the agency.
Two weeks before the trial in March 2019, Adderley claims she was put on a “performance improvement plan.” This is apparently the final step before termination. After working at NJ Transit for over 20 years and the agency “never [having] an issue” with Adderley in the past, NJ Transit transferred her to a different department following her complaints.
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) is a state law that protects New Jersey employees from discrimination in the workplace. This law provides protection to employees from discrimination or harassment from employers or coworkers based on race, national origin, age, sex, gender identification, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, disability, pregnancy or military status. Under this legislation, it is unlawful for an employer to deny application, employment, promotion, compensation, job postings, training, benefits or disability leave to anyone based on the above criteria.
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Let us help you. At McOmber & McOmber, P.C., we are dedicated to fighting against any form of discrimination in the workplace. The employment discrimination lawyers at McOmber & McOmber, P.C. can help you. Please call our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, OR contact us at 888-396-0736 or online for a free consultation. We represent all clients in Middletown, Cherry Hill, and throughout New Jersey.