Employment discrimination is unfortunately commonplace in New Jersey. There were 1,196 EEOC claims for discrimination in New Jersey in 2020 alone, with 29% of them based on race, and 29.3% based on sex. Our attorneys are here to help New Jersey employees who have faced discrimination.
From our offices in Red Bank, NJ, Marlton, NJ, and Newark, NJ, McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. represents both employees and employers throughout the state in a wide range of employment discrimination matters. We can help you understand your legal options if you have been the victim of distimination in the workplace, and guide you through your best course of action, whether that be an EEOC claim or a claim through the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD).
Understanding EEOC Claims in the Workplace
Federal laws forbid employers from making employment decisions on the basis of a person’s protected characteristics, including but not limited to:
- Race or color
- Gender or sex
- Pregnancy status
- Gender identity
- Sexual orientation / LGBT status
- National origin
- Genetic information
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing these laws and will take action on behalf of covered employees who believe they have been victims of employment discrimination. Covered employees include those working for companies with 15 or more employees. Victims of discrimination working for companies with fewer than 15 employees may be covered under New Jersey state laws.
The EEOC is also responsible for equal employment opportunities in the workplace.
The EEOC handles discrimination, retaliation, and harassment claims that are directly correlated to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and more.
Am I Being Discriminated Against?
If you have reason to believe that you have been discriminated against in the workplace, you have the legal right to file a complaint and pursue a claim. Discrimination in the workplace can cover a broad spectrum of activity specifically targeting members of the protected classes, including:
- Termination or Demotion
- Failure to Recruit or Hire
- Differential Treatment or Pay
- Withholding Training, Promotions or Career Advancement
- Being Subjected to Harassment or Increased Scrutiny
- The Existence of a Hostile Work Environment with Severe and Pervasive Harassment
- Terminating or Disciplining an Employee in Retaliation for Making a Complaint
Steps To Take If You Are Being Discriminated Against
If you are experiencing discrimination in the workplace, there are certain steps that need to be taken right away to protect your rights.
Contact an Attorney – It is crucial that you contact one of our discrimination attorneys immediately, as we can explain your rights, assess the situation properly, and help you decide a plan of action. Our lawyers can help make this process run smoothly, and help our clients meet any important deadlines.
Here are additional steps to take:
Make An Internal Complaint – Follow your company’s procedures, if your company has a complaint process it is important that you follow it. Or, ask an HR representative about what steps should be taken. By doing this, you are giving your job an opportunity to fix the issue, and it also protects your rights to file a lawsuit in the future.
Take Notes – Make note of any discriminatory actions or harassment. Include who was involved, when the event occurred, what was said, etc. Doing this will help you remember any minor and major details.
EEOC Claims Process
In most cases, you must file an EEOC claim within 180 days of the date of the alleged discrimination. If more than one act of discrimination has occurred, the deadline will usually apply to each separate event. Employees of the federal government have only 45 days to file a claim. These deadlines can’t be extended while you attempt to resolve the issue on your own through your company’s HR department or labor union. Some exceptions may apply, including cases that involve ongoing harassment.
In order to correctly file an EEOC complaint, you must file it with the EEOC either by mail or in person at one of the agency’s local offices. The agency will then notify your employer within ten days of receiving your complaint. Following this, you and your employer may be asked to participate in mediation in order to reach a settlement. The mediator will act as a neutral third party and will not advise either party whether the deal that is being offered is fair.
If the EEOC is unable to determine whether your employer violated the law, the agency will issue a Notice-of-Right-to-Sue letter granting you permission to file a discrimination lawsuit against your employer. You have only a short time to file a lawsuit after receiving this letter, so you should be prepared to act quickly.
During our consultation, we can advise you on whether an EEOC claim or NJLAD claim is the best course of action for your situation.
What If Retaliation Occurs?
Retaliating against an employee for filing a harassment or discrimination claim is illegal, but that doesn’t stop it from occurring. This rule applies regardless of whether the complaint was filed internally or with the EEOC or similar state agency.
If you have complained about harassment or discrimination, either on your own or on behalf of someone else, and as a result was fired, demoted, or denied job privileges, you may be able to file a separate retaliation charge against your employer.
Contact Our New Jersey Discrimination & Harassment Lawyers Today
If you have reason to believe you have been discriminated against or harassed in the workplace, it is important that you contact one of our attorneys at McOmber, McOmber & Luber today. If you have been retaliated against as a result of filing one of these claims, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Our experienced attorneys have years of experience handling EEOC claims, as well as claims through the state of New Jersey, regarding a variety of discrimination forms. We will help you every step of the way in seeking justice for unlawful discrimination in the workplace.