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Union, New Jersey, Legal Blog

Former banker accuses Goldman Sachs of discrimination

LGBT workers continue to face discrimination on the job in New Jersey, even when they are in high-powered and highly compensated positions. For example, one former Goldman Sachs banker is suing the Wall Street firm after being fired. A leader in the company's LGBT network, the man says that he was fired in retaliation for his claims about discriminatory treatment and homophobia in the workplace. The lawsuit accuses the investment bank of paying "lip service" to diversity and LGBT equality while discrimination continues in practice on the job.

The openly gay former banker said that he received positive performance reviews and continuing promotions for eight years at the bank, a positive trajectory that slowed and stopped when he complained about workplace discrimination based on his sexual orientation. He says that he was subject to retaliation for complaining to the company's employee relations team about a number of incidents in the workplace. For example, he says that he was excluded from a key conference call with a client because a supervisor said that he "sounded too gay." He said that shortly after this report, he received a negative performance evaluation that was unwarranted and unexpected, followed thereafter by his termination from the job.

Can you prevent enforcement of a non-compete agreement?

When you start a job with a new company, you are likely feeling optimistic about what the future holds. You will certainly read over the employment contract, but you probably won't worry about special requirements like non-compete agreements. You may tell yourself that you intend to work for the company for a long time and therefore those agreements don't matter.

However, you later find a better-paying job or the company downsizes and eliminates your position. Now, you're looking for a job that pays you as much and helps you continue to advance your career. The only problem is the non-compete agreement with your former employer.

How POWADA could effect New Jersey employees

Older New Jersey employees who are concerned about workplace age discrimination should be aware of a proposed law that would make it easier to pursue monetary damages in the event of wrongful termination or demotion. POWADA, the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act, is a proposed law that seeks to make it less complicated to show that an employer committed age discrimination. Since a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2009 that sided heavily with employers, it has been more difficult for victims of age discrimination to successfully seek damages.

The Supreme Court's decision changed the law so that an employee who was discriminated against has to show that age was the only reason why they were fired or demoted. It is relatively easy for an employer to argue that they would have fired the employee anyway. Under POWADA, employers would not be able to easily argue their way out of a wrongful termination suit.

Workers make discrimination claim against Amazon

Workers in New Jersey and around the country generally cannot be retaliated against for raising valid concerns about their treatment. However, three women who worked at an Amazon warehouse in Minnesota say that they were retaliated against because they took part in a protest. They also claim that the company failed to promote workers based on their religion and national origin. The employees filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission outlining other specific allegations against the company.

For example, they claimed that they no longer took bathroom breaks, broke their fast during Ramadan, and stopped taking time to pray. According to the complaint, this was done out of a fear that they could be disciplined for doing so. In a statement from Muslim Advocates, the women have received write-ups and have also had conversations with others at work recorded by supervisors. Muslim Advocates is the group representing the employees in this case.

LGBT workplace discrimination case going to high court

LGBT workers in New Jersey may be intrigued to learn that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in several key cases concerning protections for workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The high court will hear three cases from Michigan, Georgia, and New York in which workers sued the companies that fired them; they allege that they were discriminated against for being LGBT. Two men, including a government employee and a skydiving instructor, said they were fired because they were gay. A transgender woman said she lost her job at a funeral home after she announced her transition.

The cases have moved to federal appeals courts, where several have found that LGBT workers are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans sex discrimination. Appeals courts in New York and Chicago have found that gays and lesbians are protected under this provision, and a court in Cincinnati has done the same for transgender workers. However, another federal appeals court in Atlanta has ruled that the provision does not apply to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Congress introduces legislation to combat age discrimination

New Jersey residents may be interested in learning about bipartisan legislation being introduced into Congress to make it easier for an individual to prove age discrimination. The legislation being introduced is entitled The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act. The goal of this legislation is to increase protection for older workers so that they are not excluded from the workforce simply because of their age.

This issue is taking on greater importance in recent years. According to AARP, employees over the age of 65 are the fastest-growing segment of the workforce in the United States. There are a number of reasons for this.

Women in tech grapple with wage gap

In a new Hired study of tech companies, 60 percent of women were offered less money than male workers for the same positions. This is slightly lower than the 63 percent of women who were surveyed a year ago. Overall, the gender wage gap in the technology sector is 3 percent, but the gap is larger for some employees. For instance, black women made roughly 89 percent of what white males made. New Jersey workers may be interested in the other results from the study.

The wage gap was about 8 percent for women members of the LGBTQ community. Where a person worked also had an effect on the difference in pay between men and women. San Francisco had a 6 percent wage gap between men and women while Boston had a wage gap of 9 percent.

New Jersey workplace discrimination is illegal

A new report by the Think Tank for Inclusion and Equity shows that workplace discrimination is alive and well. More than 60 percent of respondents said that they had been the victim of discrimination or harassment at their place of employment. Additionally, more than half of diverse respondents reported that they had experienced microaggressions and pushback when pitching ideas that were rejected, but those same ideas were often accepted at a later time when they were pitched by non-diverse employees.

The report was designed to examine how diverse television writers are being treated in Hollywood. Respondents included writers who identified themselves as female, non-binary, people of color, LGBTQ and people with disabilities. While more than half of the respondents were hired because of their diversity, very little opportunity was provided for those same employees to advance their careers. Many women reported that they were the only woman on the writing staff. The same was true for non-binary writers, people of color and LGBTQ writers.

When does getting fired constitute wrongful termination?

Getting fired is an emotional, even humiliating experience. Many people pride themselves on their professional accomplishments and feel emotions ranging from devastation to anger when an employer no longer wants to retain their services.

It is totally normal for people facing the loss of their job to consider if they have any legal rights or options. Both a desire to punish the former employer and a hope of things going back to how they used to be can motivate people to seek options after getting fired from a job.

Major automakers issue recalls due to fire risk

Kia and Hyundai have announced that they are recalling 534,000 automobiles because of an engine issue that could lead to fires. The recall is effective in New Jersey and across the country and includes 379,000 Kia Souls manufactured between 2012 and 2016, along with Hyundai Tucsons from 2011 to 2013, Kia Sedonas from 2015 to 2018 and Kia Sportages from 2011 to 2012. Beginning in 2016, there began to arise reports from people who were driving normally under normal conditions when their vehicles suddenly caught fire.

Some of the drivers said they had to jump out of their vehicles before they exploded. At least one death has been attributed to a Kia that caught fire with the driver trapped inside. According to the Center for Auto Safety, 2.9 million vehicles from Kia and Hyundai will have to be recalled before the fire issue is fully addressed. The CAS has fielded more than 300 consumer complaints about non-collision fires in Kias and Hyundais since 2016.

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