Phillips & Associates

Racist Symbols, Images and Paraphernalia in a New Jersey Workplace

Hostile Work Environment Lawyers Assisting New Jersey Employees

Racist symbols, images, and paraphernalia in the workplace can constitute discrimination and harassment. Seeing such symbols on a regular basis is demeaning and degrading and can wear even the most resilient worker down so that they are no longer able to be productive on the job. At Phillips & Associates, our New Jersey racial harassment lawyers are sensitive to the emotional and financial harm caused by encountering racist symbols in the workplace and can represent you in a lawsuit for damages.

Racist Symbols, Images, and Paraphernalia in the Workplace

Racial discrimination in New Jersey is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as well as the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Harassment based on an employee's race is one form of employment discrimination. Generally, you can only recover damages for workplace racial harassment if you can establish a hostile work environment.

If you claim racial discrimination, you need to prove that you are a member of a protected class (such as being Black), you were qualified for your job, you faced an adverse employment decision, and the termination, failure to promote, or other adverse decision happened under circumstances that gave rise to an inference of racial discrimination. For example, if your supervisor repeatedly uses the n-word to refer to you and suggests that you should quit if that bothers you, and then you are terminated, you may be able to claim race discrimination.

If you are claiming racial harassment, you will need to prove a hostile work environment. There is a hostile work environment if the workplace is suffused with ridicule, intimidation, and insults that are either severe or sufficiently pervasive that they would create an abusive working environment. Rarely will a single incident create a hostile work environment, but if it is a very severe incident involving multiple racist symbols and perhaps threats of violence, it may be found to be a hostile work environment. It is important to consult an attorney and convey the details of your situation thoroughly so that they can determine whether you have a claim under Title VII or the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.

Title VII

To determine whether racist symbols are severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile work environment, a federal court must look at all of the surrounding circumstances, including how often the discrimination happened, how severe it was, whether it was physically humiliating or threatening, and whether it unreasonably interfered with your work performance. The court will look at whether the work environment was subjectively abusive to you, as well as whether it was objectively hostile. It is rare that an isolated incident will be considered objectively hostile. In one federal case, a single incident involving a noose was not considered enough to create a hostile work environment.

Remedies

If you are able to establish liability under federal or state law, you may be able to recover compensatory damages. Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, you are supposed to be able to obtain redress for mental anguish related to discrimination, even if your emotional or physical ailments are not severe. Compensatory damages for emotional distress, including indignity and humiliation, are remedies that do not require as stringent a standard of proof as tort-based emotional distress does. You will not need to provide expert testimony to recover emotional distress damages related to past emotional distress, but instead you will be able to recover damages for the natural consequences of the wrongful conduct, including the distress arising out of intangible injuries.

Consult a Racial Harassment Lawyer in New Jersey

You deserve to have your work and job performance considered on the merits, rather than your immutable traits. The New Jersey attorneys at Phillips & Associates can provide aggressive, experienced representation. Contact us at (212) 248-7431 or use our online form to discuss a situation involving harassment on the job. We represent people in Passaic, Bergen, Morris, Essex, Union, Hudson, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer, Burlington, and Camden Counties. We offer a free consultation and do not charge upfront fees to our clients.

PHILLIPS & ASSOCIATES
100 Overlook Center, 2nd Floor
Princeton, NJ 08540
Tel: 609-436-9087

Managing Partner in New Jersey - Bryan Arce

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