New Jersey Sex and Gender Discrimination Lawyers

Sex and gender discrimination in the workplace is a serious issue that affects many individuals, leading to unfair treatment, emotional distress, and even career setbacks. In New Jersey, strong legal protections are in place to safeguard employees from such discrimination.

What Constitutes Sex and Gender Discrimination?

Sex and gender discrimination occurs when an employee is treated unfavorably because of their sex or gender. This can manifest in various forms, including:

  • Unequal Pay: Paying employees different wages for substantially similar work based on sex.
  • Promotion Denial: Denying employees promotions or career advancement opportunities based on their sex or gender.
  • Harassment: Creating a hostile work environment through unwelcome conduct, such as inappropriate comments, jokes, or advances.
  • Pregnancy Discrimination: Treating a woman unfavorably because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
  • Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination: Discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Legal Protections Against Sex and Gender Discrimination in New Jersey

New Jersey provides robust legal protections against workplace discrimination through several laws, including:

  • New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD): NJLAD is one of the most comprehensive anti-discrimination laws in the United States. It prohibits discrimination based on sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, pregnancy, and other protected characteristics. NJLAD applies to employers of all sizes, including state and local government entities.
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: This federal law prohibits discrimination based on sex, among other protected characteristics. It applies to employers with 15 or more employees and also covers issues of sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination.
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963: This federal law mandates that men and women receive equal pay for equal work. It is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act: An amendment to Title VII prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

Recognizing Signs of Discrimination

Victims of sex and gender discrimination may not always recognize the signs immediately. It’s important to be aware of behaviors and actions that could indicate discrimination, such as:

  • Receiving lower pay than colleagues of a different sex for the same job.
  • Being passed over for promotions despite being equally or more qualified.
  • Facing derogatory comments, jokes, or slurs related to sex or gender.
  • Experiencing unwanted sexual advances or physical contact.
  • Being demoted, terminated, or mistreated after announcing a pregnancy or returning from maternity leave.
  • Encountering policies or practices that disproportionately affect one gender over another.

What Should I Do if I Experience Discrimination?

If you believe you are a victim of sex or gender discrimination, it is crucial to take the following steps to protect your rights and build a strong case:

  • Document Everything:
    • Keep detailed records of discriminatory incidents, including dates, times, locations, and individuals involved.
    • Save any relevant emails, messages, or documents that could serve as evidence.
  • Report the Discrimination:
    • Report the discrimination to your employer following the company’s internal complaint procedures.
    • If your employer has a Human Resources (HR) department, file a formal complaint with HR.
    • Ensure you receive a copy of your complaint and any related correspondence.
  • Seek Legal Advice:
    • Consult with an experienced employment attorney.
    • A lawyer can help you understand your rights, evaluate your case, and guide you through the legal process.
  • File a Complaint with the EEOC or NJDCR:
    • The EEOC handles federal discrimination complaints.
    • In New Jersey, you can also file a complaint with the Division on Civil Rights (NJDCR).
    • Both agencies have specific deadlines for filing complaints, so act promptly.
  • Consider Mediation or Settlement:
    • Mediation can be a less adversarial way to resolve disputes with your employer.
    • Your attorney can help negotiate a fair settlement if you prefer to avoid litigation.

Pursuing Legal Action

If internal complaints and mediation do not resolve the issue, you may need to pursue legal action. Here is what you can expect during the legal process:

  • Filing a Lawsuit:
    • Your attorney will file a complaint in state or federal court, detailing the discrimination and the relief you seek.
    • The defendant (your employer) will be served with the complaint and required to respond.
  • Discovery Phase:
    • Both parties will exchange evidence and information through depositions, interrogatories, and document requests.
    • This phase is crucial for building your case.
  • Pre-Trial Motions:
    • Either party may file motions to resolve or narrow the issues before trial.
    • Common motions include motions to dismiss or for summary judgment.
  • Trial:
    • If the case proceeds to trial, both parties will present evidence and arguments.
    • A judge or jury will decide the outcome based on the facts and applicable law.
  • Appeal:
    • If you are unsatisfied with the trial outcome, you may have the option to appeal to a higher court.

What Are Possible Damages in a Discrimination Lawsuit?

Successful discrimination claims can result in various remedies and compensation, including:

  • Back Pay: Compensation for lost wages and benefits due to discrimination.
  • Front Pay: Future lost earnings if reinstatement is not feasible.
  • Compensatory Damages: Compensation for emotional distress, pain, and suffering.
  • Punitive Damages: Damages intended to punish the employer for particularly egregious conduct.
  • Reinstatement: Returning to your former job position.
  • Policy Changes: Requiring the employer to implement anti-discrimination policies and training.

Sex and gender discrimination in the workplace is not only illegal but also profoundly damaging to individuals and society as a whole. New Jersey’s robust legal framework provides strong protections for victims, ensuring they have the means to seek justice and hold discriminatory employers accountable.

Our New Jersey Sex and Gender Discrimination Lawyers at Carcich O’Shea Advocate for Victims of Discrimination

If you are a victim of sex or gender discrimination, remember that you are not alone. With the right support and legal guidance, you can fight against discrimination and work towards a fair and equitable workplace. For more information, contact our New Jersey sex and gender discrimination lawyers at Carcich O’Shea. Call us today at 201-988-1308 or fill out our online form for an initial consultation. Located in Hackensack, New Jersey, we serve clients in Bergen County, Edison County, Essex County, Morris County, and Passaic County.