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Union, New Jersey, Legal Blog

The Raiders and NFL face lawsuit over team relocation

New Jersey football fans may be interested to learn that the city of Oakland has filed a lawsuit against the NFL and Raiders over the team's impending move to Las Vegas. According to the lawsuit, the NFL violated federal antitrust laws by moving the team to Nevada and boycotting the city of Oakland. City representatives stated in a press release that they are attempting to recover damages from lost revenue, taxpayer investments in the Raiders and other expenses.

While the lawsuit does seek damages from the NFL, it's not demanding that the Raiders move back to Oakland. City officials have stated that the actions by the league were not only illegal but also showed bad faith considering the loyalty of local fans for many years. They also claim that the NFL is using its cartel status to punish cities like Oakland that are not willing to put up taxpayer money for new stadiums.

New Jersey workers have the freedom to any gender expression

Transgender rights are unquestionably one of the most cutting-edge areas of human rights in the United States and New Jersey. Thankfully, the Garden State has proven itself to be an inclusive and accepting place to work by intentionally extending protection to workers based not only on their gender assigned at birth, but on their own gender identity as well. New Jersey protects workers from discrimination regardless of their sexuality or their gender expression.

In other words, employers cannot discriminate against workers whose genetic gender differs from their internalized or expressed gender. In situations involving both hiring and ongoing employment, employees who identify as transgender, gender-fluid or non-binary have protections under the law.

Forest Service to address employee harassment

The newly-appointed director of the national forest service has promised to focus on reducing workplace sexual harassment and other issues at the agency. The director said that she would make changes to existing programs and put new systems in place to promote the safety and comfort of employees. New Jersey workers might gain from an understanding of the claims and facts alleged in the case.

The Associated Press has reported that the U.S. Forest Service has had problems with workplace sexual harassment in the past. Female employees brought a class action lawsuit against the agency in the 1970s, alleging discrimination regarding promotions and employment opportunities. An oversight panel called a hearing in December 2016 to address claims by employees of bullying, harassment and systemic discrimination. Following a report by the USDA Office of the Inspector General, the Forest Service said in March 2018 that it would take steps to better address employee complaints.

Hiring discrimination remains a challenge for African-Americans

The job market in New Jersey and other parts of the country is just as difficult for African-American candidates today as it was 25 years ago according to a study published recently by the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers from Harvard University, Northwestern University and Norway's Institute for Social Research came to this sobering conclusion after submitting 55,842 applications for 26,326 positions.

The researchers recruited Caucasians, Latinos and African-Americans to apply for vacant positions and also submitted resumes with ethnically identifiable names. They discovered that white candidates received 36 percent more callbacks than African-Americans and 24 percent more callbacks than Latinos. These figures are very similar to the results of similar workplace discrimination research conducted in 1989. The outcome remained unchanged after factors such as gender, education, labor market conditions and geography were taken into account.

The gig economy and anti-discrimination laws

Many workers act as independent contractors in New Jersey and across the country. This rise of the "gig economy" has led people to teach classes online, drive ridesharing cars and take up pet-sitting jobs. In fact, nearly one out of every seven jobs taken by Americans involves these types of contingent employment situations. However, these independent contractors may lack significant protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of race, age, gender or disability.

Despite the fact that millions of people work for temp agencies, as freelancers and through independent contracting, the laws against employment discrimination apply only to regular employees. According to a survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 14 percent of American workers said that they take some kinds of temporary assignments. This amounts to 21 million people across the country. At least half of those are classified as contractors and lose access to the protections that underlie anti-discrimination laws. However, some say that these figures could undercount the level of "gig-based" or contingent workers. One study claimed that 29 percent of Americans had some level of involvement with these positions.

Women say Facebook ads promote gender discrimination

Women in New Jersey and across the county have raised red flags about Facebook's advertising options, saying that the company is responsible for gender discrimination and employment through the way it displays ads to website members. One group of Facebook users filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in September 2018, alleging that the tech company was responsible for posting discriminatory employment ads on the platform. They also filed complaints against nine other businesses responsible for buying the ads from Facebook.

The women noted that companies that buy ads on Facebook can target them on the basis of gender. Thus, women who use the platform were unable to see the ads. Unlike ads for products or services that could legally target one gender, however, these were employment advertisements for positions like truck driver and window installer. The women allege that using Facebook's technology to hide job ads from one gender violates the Civil Rights Act and is a form of employment discrimination. Their claim was supported by advocacy groups like the Communications Workers of America and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Woman sues Walmart for pregnancy discrimination

On Sept. 21, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a complaint alleging that Walmart has discriminated against pregnant employees for years at one warehouse location. As Walmart is the largest private employer in the country, readers in New Jersey might be interested in the details of the lawsuit. According to the complaint, the giant retailer failed to make accommodations for medical limitations related to pregnancy.

Modifications of jobs were given to employees who were not pregnant but had disabilities. Walmart also allegedly denied requests by pregnant women for unpaid time off. The warehouse in question is in Wisconsin. The EEOC claims that an employee there requested transfer to a less demanding job or light duty after she became pregnant in 2015, and that her request was denied. The company also refused later requests made by the employee for additional breaks, shorter work days and a chair.

Brake defects force GM to recall vehicles

New Jersey car and truck owners have had to keep track of many vehicle recalls in recent years. The latest recall notice concerning brake defects from General Motors applies to 2018 and 2019 models of Chevrolet Impala, Equinox, Malibu, Volt, Bolt, and Cruze. Additionally, owners of Buick Regal, LaCrosse, and XTS models as well as the GMC Terrain must get their brakes fixed.

Engineers have identified the brake problem as improper chrome on the rear brake pistons. The defective chrome creates gases that interfere with the hydraulic circuit of the brakes. Drivers experience it as soft brakes and unpredictable braking distances that could produce accidents.

Your employer cannot fire you for being a whistleblower

Discovering that your employer is engaging in an illegal or unsafe practice can be frightening. You may worry about the repercussions of coming forward. However, you understand that it is your duty as an employee and also as a citizen to speak out when someone is knowingly endangering others or discriminating against them.

Thankfully, most large employers have policies in place that allow for staff to report issues with safety, discrimination or harassment. The policies may require you to file a report, either with human resources or possibly with your manager.

Age discrimination is paramount for the EEOC

More than 50 years have passed since the Age Discrimination in Employment Act became law. Unfortunately, even with the passage of the bill, age discrimination is still quite prevalent in New Jersey and around the country. Fortunately, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has placed age discrimination at the forefront of their mission to ensure fair employment practices. Experts in the field recommend that older workers who are currently in the workforce or are looking for employment adhere to the following practices to avoid possible discrimination.

The first suggestion is for older workers to hone their skills. Continuing education opportunities allow associates to remain sharp and performing at their best. When employees are proficient at their work, they become people who are relied upon to help the company not only function but excel. When experience is combined with up-to-date knowledge, the chance of dealing with a workplace discrimination situation is less likely to happen.

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