Bergen County is the most populous county in New Jersey, with nearly a million residents. Some of the largest employers in Bergen County include Medco Health Solutions, Bio-Reference Laboratories, Valley Health System, Hackensack University Medical Center, Quest Diagnostics, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, Unilever Bestfoods, Stryker Corporation, Holy Name Medical Center, Becton Dickinson, Crestron Electronics, BMW of North America, and KPMG. Bergen County employers need to follow federal and state anti-discrimination laws. If your employer does not respect your rights, the Bergen County employment lawyers at Phillips & Associates are ready to advocate for you.Defining Employment Discrimination
Both federal and state laws prohibit employment discrimination. Employment discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee adversely in an employment decision due to his or her membership in a protected class. It can include a failure to hire, a termination, a failure to promote, disparate pay, and harassment. For example, if you are not promoted to a managerial position because your boss believes that women cannot be effective managers, this would constitute sex discrimination. There are also situations in which more than one protected class is implicated.
There are multiple federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of various protected characteristics. These laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Many federal anti-discrimination laws are enforced by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). As a result, if you believe that you were a victim of employment discrimination, you will need to file a charge with the EEOC before bringing a lawsuit in federal court. The state law prohibits discrimination on the basis of additional protected characteristics. An employment attorney in Bergen County can advise you on whether it makes more sense to bring a claim under federal or state laws.The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) prohibits intentional discrimination based on race, color, nationality, national origin, creed, ancestry, pregnancy, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, military service, disability, marital status, domestic partnership or civil union status, age, and genetic information, as well as sexual harassment. Intentional discrimination can involve differential treatment, or it can involve actions that reflect a discriminatory bias or animus.
Employment practices that seem to be neutral may also constitute employment discrimination if they have a disparate impact on members of protected classes. The employer may argue that the employment practice or policy meets a valid and important business need that cannot be addressed through a non-discriminatory measure. Physical requirements are more likely to be considered illegal if there is an alternative measure of job-related capacities, such as stamina tests or strength tests that more accurately show a job applicant’s capacity to do the job. However, each situation is different, so you should seek guidance from an experienced Bergen County employment attorney on the scope of your rights.The New Jersey Family Leave Act
The New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) mandates that employers that are covered give employees who are eligible a maximum of 12 weeks of job-protected time off from work in a 24-month block of time for certain reasons. This leave may be taken to take care of or bond with a child within a year of the child’s placement or birth or to take care of a family member or someone equal to a family member who has a significant medical condition. Employers that have at least 30 employees are covered as of June 30, 2019. Employees need to have been employed in New Jersey by a covered employer for at least 12 months and need to have worked for at least 1,000 hours in the prior 12 months to be eligible for family leave under the New Jersey Family Leave Act.Hire a Knowledgeable Employment Attorney
Employment discrimination and violations of other employment laws can have significant consequences. Our employment lawyers fight for Bergen County employees who believe that their employers have violated their rights. Phillips & Associates can be reached at (609) 436-9087 or through our online form.