The deadly shooting this week of 6 Asian American women in Atlanta is a national tragedy. This event follows a recent spike in hate crimes against those of Asian descent. In 2020, Asian Americans have reported nearly 3,800 hate crimes, a small fraction of the number of cases that actually occur. Experts believe this upswing in violence is due to the COVID-19 pandemic and derogatory statements aimed at the Asian community over the past year.
McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. mourns the loss of these innocent lives and stands strong with the Asian American community. There is no place for hate in our country and we are proud to fight against discrimination and harassment in the workplace. New Jersey has a strong history of prohibiting discrimination and harassment and a well-regarded law to enforce it. Read below to find out more about New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination.
New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination is a comprehensive law that makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against someone because of their “race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry…” N.J.S.A. 10:5-12. An employer cannot refuse to hire you simply because you are in this protected group.
Similarly, an employer cannot terminate, demote, or discipline you based on these characteristics. This discriminatory conduct can also include paying you a different salary and benefits compared to someone is a similar job. An employer or supervisor may try to disguise their actions as a legitimate business decision. However, many times their actions are “pretext” and not their real motive.
The LAD also prohibits harassment based on national origin and ancestry in the workplace. If you are experiencing harassment that is severe or pervasive, then your employer may be liable. “Antagonistic, degrading, or demeaning conduct in the workplace that is directed at or about one’s religious faith, or ancestry, can be discriminatory and can amount to an unlawful hostile environment.” Cutler v. Dorn, 196 N.J. 419 (2008).
Under the LAD, it is unlawful to act against someone “because that person has filed a complaint…or to coerce, intimidate, threaten or interfere with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of …any right granted or protected” by the LAD. N.J.S.A. 10:5-12(d). Therefore, if you speak to a supervisor, human resources representative or a state or federal agency about your concerns, you are likely protected. If your employer terminates, disciplines, or takes other adverse actions against you after raising a complaint, you may have a legal cause of action.
Discrimination and harassment in the workplace are unlawful and should not be tolerated. If you are experiencing this conduct, you could be eligible for back pay and other damages. McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. has years of experience fighting these claims and are here to help. You can reach us at our Red Bank, New Jersey office at 732-842-6500 or at our office in Marlton, New Jersey 856-985-9800.