If you are a victim of workplace discrimination, you need to initiate legal action immediately. As per the directives of the New Jersey Law against Discrimination (NJLAD), no employer/superior can discriminate against an employee/co-worker on certain grounds like age, sex, race, color, creed, religion, and many others.
What should you do if you are a victim of such an incident? It is better to talk to a discrimination lawyer before you take any step in this regard. However, do not delay in this; there is a strict limit on the time within which you need to file a complaint.
What should be your first step? The first thing to do is file a complaint with the Division of Civil Rights in New Jersey. You may submit this at any of the offices, or ask your lawyer to do so. However, you have only 180 days from the date of the incident of discrimination to do this.
What happens after you file a complaint? If it is accepted, the Division conducts a preliminary investigation to find out whether there was a probable cause to believe the occurrence of discrimination. If there is, these may happen –
There may be an administrative hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
There may be litigation by a State Deputy Attorney General on behalf of the Division.
There may be litigation by the complainant.
Note: The complainant, i.e. you, may also request for litigation if the Division fails to investigate the existence of probable cause within 180 days of filing the complaint.
What happens if you want to file a lawsuit? You may file a claim at a New Jersey Superior Court with the help of a New Jersey discrimination lawyer. However, this bars you from filing a complaint with the Division later. You have 2 years from the date of the incident to initiate legal action.
What are the possible damages you may recover? If the Division finds the occurrence of discrimination, or your discrimination lawyer is able to establish it, you may be eligible for reinstatement, hiring or promotion. Moreover, you may also be able to recover back pay and, in some cases, punitive damages.
Lawyers’ fees are also within the recoverable damages. However, all this only becomes possible if you have competent and effective legal counsel. Before you file a complaint with the Division or a claim at the Superior Court, you need to consult a lawyer for advice and guidance.
Amalisha Brooklin, a legal journalist, offers tips and suggestions regarding legal issues concerning labor and employment matters. If you are looking for a New Jersey Discrimination Lawyer.