[vc_row][vc_column][vc_toggle title=”What are your fees? How do you get paid? Do you work on a contingent fee basis? ” el_id=”1444419072809-b38df1ec-accd”]We usually work on a contingent fee basis but also can work on an hourly basis. We charge $350-$500 for an initial consultation. Additional fees can be discussed if we agree to take your case.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What constitutes Employment Discrimination in New Jersey?” el_id=”1444419223229-c4fcadd3-98db”]Employment discrimination occurs when a person is treated in an unequal manner in violation of his or her legal rights or ability. Although state and federal laws prohibit discrimination in employment, availability of housing, educational opportunities, civil rights and the use of facilities, discrimination happens every day.
For more information, see Employment Discrimination[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”I’ve been retaliated against on my job. Do I have a case in New Jersey? What are the Whistleblower laws? ” el_id=”1444419801601-128e1053-bac5″]Q. I am a female who worked at a company for nearly 20 years. For more than fifteen of those years I received “Far Exceeds” ratings. I was pushing for a promotion, and did not receive it. Instead, my manager appointed a twenty-five year old male who had never worked in my area. Prior to this, I began to get the feeling that I was not going to receive the promotion. I called the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (NJDCR) and told my manager I had done so. Soon after that, I was not promoted. I became very distraught and began seeing a psychologist, who suggested I take over-the-counter sleep medication. After the 25 year-old male was made my manager, I did not contact the NJDCR again. Instead, I requested a transfer to another area. My first review after I called the NJDCR was still in the “Far Exceeds” range. However, my next review was less than glowing and it continued that way for several years. I then transferred out of the department. Later, I learned that my old manager, who had treated me badly, was leaving. I thought I would be hired back into the department after he left, but I was not.
I have left the company and now am an executive in another company. My six month review has been excellent. However, I am making $10,000 a year less. Do I have any recourse?
A. You have raised a number of issues. First, you mentioned that you did not receive a promotion after you contacted the NJDCR. If you complain about discrimination, whether based on age, gender, or other protected status, and then do not receive a promotion because you complained, the company has committed an illegal act. It is called “retaliation.” A company cannot retaliate against you for complaining of discrimination, period. This retaliation claim would be separate from the underlying discrimination claim, which, in this case, I assume to be gender and/or age discrimination. Therefore, you may have a retaliation claim based on your complaining of the company’s failure to promote you or give you a transfer, in addition to a discrimination claim.
On your potential gender or age discrimination claim, you may want to consult an attorney or the NJDCR, who can advise you whether or not you have a viable case. Clearly, the fact that you were a long-time employee with excellent job reviews makes it appear that you deserved to be promoted over a relatively younger and, probably, less-experienced employee. If you wish to file a complaint with the NJDCR, then you must do so within 180 days of the discriminatory act. However, it appears you have passed that deadline. Generally, the rule of law in New Jersey is that you have two years to bring a discrimination complaint in Superior Court. It sounds like you are fast approaching this deadline as well. If you want a professional to review your options with you, I suggest you do so immediately.
I would note that since you have seen a psychologist for treatment related to your work experience, all your psychological records will be open to the attorneys and the company if you commence litigation and make a claim for emotional distress damages. This is an issue you should discuss with a professional to determine whether or not litigation is the correct option for you.
For more information, see Whistleblower/Retaliation[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Should I have been paid overtime? What are the New Jersey Wage and Hours Violation laws?” el_id=”1444420034211-12aea0aa-8a2f”]Q: I was recently terminated from my position as salaried General Manager of a warehouse company. I worked there for ten years and always did the best job I could. Whatever my boss asked me to do, I did it. My job duties went far beyond supervising the men – my boss had me plowing the parking lot, typing correspondence, picking up parts and supplies for the shop, and filling in for the hourly employees. I regularly worked sixty and seventy hours per week. After I was fired, I started thinking to myself — “Shouldn’t I have gotten overtime pay for all the hours I put in doing non-managerial duties?” Please give me some advice.
A: The misconception that most people have is that if you are a salaried employee; you cannot collect overtime. This could not be further from the truth, although most bosses are not quick to let you know this. The test for whether or not an employee is eligible for overtime is not whether you earn a salary. It does not even matter if your job title is “Manager.” Under the New Jersey Wage and Hour law, persons who perform non-managerial or “non-exempt” work more than twenty percent (20%) of the time must be paid overtime. “Non-exempt” work is, generally speaking, work that an hourly employee performs, such as manual labor, work that does not require the exercise of discretion, or work that does not require any specialized training.
In your case, if you spent more than twenty percent (20%) of your workweek performing the tasks you described, you were entitled to be paid for overtime. You should contact an attorney or the State Department of Labor for more information about pursuing your claim.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”I’ve been fired without cause. Can you help me get a good severance package?” el_id=”1444420235276-3386fc02-e308″]We are experts in helping employees get the most generous package possible from their employer. If you’ve been fired and it isn’t for reasons due to your membership in a protected class (age, race, sex, religion, etc.), we can still work with you to get the best possible severance package.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”My supervisor mistreats me. Can I sue?” el_id=”1444420476282-d50c0db2-c919″]If your supervisor mistreats you because of a protected status (race, age, sex, religion, etc.) then you may be a victim of employment discrimination and action can be taken. On the other hand, if your supervisor just treats you badly or unfairly because they aren’t nice or don’t like you, that is not discrimination and doesn’t warrant a lawsuit.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”My employer made me sign a non-compete agreement. Now I am looking for a new job. Can you help? Can you help with a restrictive Covenant? ” el_id=”1444420660794-64375bbd-34c8″]Yes, we can consult with you on your non-compete.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”I think I’ve been sexually harassed on the job. What is Sexual Harassment? ” el_id=”1444419560559-62bcf1dd-761f”]Q: I was recently fired from my job as a cashier in a local department store. I think I was sexually harassed and I need your advice. It all started when I took the job last December. Right from the beginning, the Store Manager kept harassing me. He would make comments on my appearance and use sexual innuendos when talking to me. I noticed that he treated the other female employees the same way. One day, he touched my jeans and asked if I was wearing any underwear. I got really upset, but I didn’t say anything because I was afraid of being fired. Then, one night, he asked me to stay late to help him “stock the store.” I felt this was a come-on, so I said no. That was a Friday. When I came to work on Monday, I was fired. They told me that they had no work for me. What can I do about this? Even though I only made the minimum wage, I needed that money to support myself and my family.
A: It sounds like you were illegally sexually harassed. You need to contact an attorney or one of the governmental agencies that deal with discrimination law, i.e., either the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. There are time limits on your ability to get agency or judicial relief, so act quickly.
There are two kinds of sexual harassment. One is called “hostile work environment.” This is where the victim, usually a female (although it can be a male), is subject to unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that unreasonably interferes with that employee’s work performance or creates a hostile or offensive working environment. The second kind of sexual harassment is called “quid pro quo” (which means “this for that”).In “quid pro quo” harassment, the victim’s acceptance or rejection of the harasser’s demand becomes a condition of her employment which the law finds unacceptable.
In the case you described, it sounds like you were the victim of both kinds of sexual harassment. First, there were sexual comments and innuendos in the workplace. If the comments made by the Store Manager would have been offensive to a reasonable woman, then you may have a claim for a hostile work environment. Second, the Store Manager fired you for not “stocking the shelves,” i.e., having some type of physical affair with him. This is classic “quid pro quo” harassment, because if you gave in to his demands, you would not have been fired.
You raise another interesting issue. One thing that is hard to explain to victims of discrimination like yourself is the concept of “damages,” i.e., how much money you can recover for what you went through. Most of the damages in a discrimination case are tied to the wages you earned. Since you only earned approximately $5.50 per hour, or $11,440 per year, your damages are rather limited. However, there are other damages available, which may apply in your case, including damages for emotional distress, i.e., psychological injury, pain and suffering, and punitive damages. Your attorney can advise you further about your damages in this case, which may be substantial.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Must my employer be in New Jersey to use Zuckerman & Fisher?” el_id=”1444420542870-c52228ac-b824″]For the most part, your employment should be in New Jersey for us to represent you. Where you live doesn’t matter, just the location of your employment.[/vc_toggle][/vc_column][/vc_row]