New Jersey Employment Discrimination Lawyers
Unfortunately, discrimination in the workplace remains a fact of life even in the 21st century. This is true despite the existence, for over 60 years, of laws against discrimination and despite the increasing number of lawsuits brought on behalf of employees here in New Jersey and around the country challenging discrimination.
While discrimination in the workplace continues, there is rarely “smoking gun” evidence of its existence. Instead, discrimination often takes more subtle forms, without any “paper trail” being left. Without highly experienced lawyers skilled in uncovering the evidence of employment discrimination, an employee bringing a claim of discrimination will likely not succeed.
Advantages Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination
In bringing an employment discrimination suit in New Jersey, there are a number of distinct advantages in proceeding under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, as opposed to under any of the federal anti-discrimination laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. First and foremost, under New Jersey’s law, there is no requirement that the employee first file with the Equal Opportunity Commission, or with the parallel state agency, the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. Instead, under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, an employee has the right to directly proceed into state court with a lawsuit, so long as the case is brought with the two –year statute of limitations. Moreover, whereas the federal civil rights laws place limits or “caps” on damages that can be recovered, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination places no limits on the amount a plaintiff can recover in a lawsuit brought under that law.
Game Changers in Employment Discrimination
Recently, it should be noted, by sneaking language into employment applications or otherwise, some employers have attempted to drastically shorten the period under which employees must file suit under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. The ability of employers to do so is came before the New Jersey Supreme Court in the case of Rodriguez v. Raymours Furniture. On behalf of the New Jersey chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, our firm filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief with the Court, arguing that New Jersey employers should not be allowed to get away with such maneuvers. We are pleased to report that the Supreme Court agreed with us and has now outlawed the ability of employers to shorten the two-year statute of limitations that exists under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
In our brief to the New Jersey Supreme Court, we wrote as follows:
[This Court should not] allow employers to utilize employment applications as a tool to lure employment applicants – those who are anxiously focused on finding a new job, and not on the legalese in an application – to waive their right to petition the court for redress up to two years after suffering a discriminatory act. In other words, a key facet of New Jersey’s civil rights laws protecting workers from discrimination and retaliation would now be subject to unilateral revision by any employer in this State via the use of contracts of adhesion. The opinion below has been described as a “game changer,” an “opportunity” for an “employer to choose its own limitation period” and “a decision that affects every employer and employee in the state” by commentators. Before the “game is changed,” this Court should grant Certification in order to review whether the Law Against Discrimination statute of limitations can be lawfully truncated through such adhesion contracts.
The Fight Against Forced Arbitration
Here in New Jersey, as well as around the country, employers are now drastically increasing their use of forced arbitration agreements to compel employees to give up their right to a trial by jury in discrimination cases and instead be limited to proceeding in private, secret arbitration proceedings, where the deck is typically stacked against them. Employers will impose these forced arbitration agreements on employees either by them including (hiding) them in an initial employment application or by insisting that current employees sign them as a condition of keeping their jobs. Our firm has been among the leaders in New Jersey in fighting to hold back the tide against these agreements, and, in the case of Dugan v. Best Buy, decided in August, 2017, we were able to get the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey to strike down Best Buy’s forced arbitration policy. For details about this important victory in the fight against forced arbitration, please check out the article about it in the News Section of this website, A Victory Against Forced Arbitration-AKA-Another Kind of Black Friday for Best Buy.
Attorneys Richard Schall and Patricia Barasch have more than 50 years combined experience representing employees in complex employment discrimination cases. We enjoy the challenge of tackling the most complex legal issues, taking on the biggest corporations in New Jersey, and standing up for the rights of our clients.
If you believe you have been discriminated against in the workplace on the basis of your race/national origin, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or religion, please contact our firm by clicking on the link below, “Help Us Understand Your Case,” and completing the on-line Questionnaire.
* In every year since 2014, the law firm of Schall & Barasch has been included in the Tier 1 list of best law firms in New Jersey practicing in the field of employment law on behalf of individuals. This list is compiled by U.S. News & World Report. A description of the selection methodology can be found at www.bestlawfirms.usnews.com/methodology.aspx.
** The methodology for the Avvo ratings of Richard Schall and Patricia Barasch can be found at www.avvo.com/support/avvo_rating.
*** In every year since 2009, Richard Schall has been chosen to be included on the list of Best Lawyers in New Jersey practicing in the field of labor and employment law. The Best Lawyers list is issued by Best Lawyers International. A description of the selection methodology can be found at www.bestlawyers.com/about/MethodologyBasic.aspx.
**** In every year since 2005, both Patricia Barasch and Richard Schall have been chosen to be included on the list of Super Lawyers in New Jersey practicing in the field of employment law on behalf of plaintiffs. The Super Lawyers list is issued by Thomson Reuters. A description of the selection methodology can be found at www.superlawyers.com/about/selection_process.html.
No aspect of these advertisements has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.