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Union, New Jersey, Legal Blog

Discrimination claim rates in 2017

In fiscal year 2017, there were 84,254 charges of discrimination in the workplace made by New Jersey residents and others in America. During that same period of time, the EEOC was able to resolve 99,109 charges and reduce case inventory to 61,621. That was a 16.2 percent reduction during fiscal year 2017, and it was also the lowest number in a decade.

Race and disability charges were among the most common in the past fiscal year. However, cases involving retaliation were the most common overall. They made up 48.8 percent of all charges made to the EEOC. Charges of race discrimination made up 33.9 percent of cases while disability charges were 31.9 percent of all cases handled by the EEOC in fiscal year 2017. Also among the top 10 most frequent types of discrimination claims were those related to age, sex or national origin.

Gender pay discrimination case gets second chance on appeal

The Equal Pay Act offers workers in New Jersey one route for addressing claims of gender wage discrimination. A lawsuit in Maryland citing this law has regained new life after an appeals court ruled that the case should be remanded back to the district court for further consideration. The lower court had originally dismissed it on the grounds that the plaintiffs had not presented sufficient evidence to support their claim.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had filed the lawsuit on behalf of three female civil servants that worked for a state's insurance fraud investigation division. Court filings indicated that the women had been paid less than some men in comparable positions. The lower court based its first decision on the fact that other men doing the same work made less money than the women, but the appeals court decided that all male employees as a class did not have to earn more collectively than all women. Discrimination in pay based on gender among individuals at a workplace sufficed to earn the case a second look.

How power can play a role in the wage gap

When a harasser is removed from a New Jersey workplace, it may not necessarily put an end to the problem. In many cases, victims are vulnerable because of the power dynamics at play. In many cases, power is derived in part based on how much money a person makes. Therefore, it may be possible to link the gender wage gap to sexual harassment.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a power disparity may be one risk factor that can lead to sexual harassment in the workplace. Typically, a woman makes 80 cents for every dollar that a man makes, and there are several possible explanations for this. For some, sexual harassment or other abusive behavior may cause them to leave an industry that may offer higher pay. Those who don't feel good about their working conditions may not do their best work.

Report examines possible age discrimination in online ads

Some New Jersey Facebook users might have seen jobs ads from companies such as Amazon, Verizon and Goldman Sachs that were specifically targeted to them because of their age. This has raised concerns that this could constitute age discrimination. However, a Facebook vice-president said the targeting is no different from when companies run job ads in publications that are aimed at particular demographics.

ProPublica and the New York Times carried out the investigation. One example was a financial planning ad from Verizon that was aimed at users who lived in or had recently visited Washington, D.C., had shown an interest in finance and were 25 to 36.

Your employer should respect your needs related to nursing

As a new mother, there are many decisions you need to make on behalf of yourself and your new child. In many cases, these decisions are simple, while others have more profound and long-term implications. One such decision is the choice to breastfeed your child. Sadly, like pregnancy, breastfeeding can cause issues at your place of work.

Medical evidence makes it clear that breast milk can offer babies a bit of a head start in life. It can boost their immune systems, increases their potential for a higher IQ and even helps cement the maternal-infant bond, which is critical for healthy infant development. Sadly, many new mothers who want to continue their career and nurse their infant get put in difficult positions by employers.

DOL rule change may alter how employees are paid

If an employee in New Jersey is considered a tipped worker, an employer may be able to pay a base wage of $2.13 under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The other $5.12 per hour may be made up of tips received during a shift. Employers may use the tip credit if the employee is allowed to keep all of his or her tips. It is also possible for employees to share tips that are pooled over their shifts.

This may be added to a full hourly minimum wage paid by an employer. However, this can only be done for those who customarily receive tips. This may exclude cooks or other kitchen workers who don't normally receive tips. A proposed rule change by the Department of Labor may ease this restriction. Proponents say that it provides employers with flexibility to pay their workers more than they would normally receive.

What to know about at-will employment

In most cases, employees in New Jersey and elsewhere are considered "at-will" employees. This means that an employee can be terminated for almost any reason. Assuming that there were no state or federal employment laws broken when a person was terminated, the employee has little recourse but to accept the employer's decision. However, employment may not be at-will if employers make agreements with employees stating that the can only be fired for a good cause.

Those who are curious about their employment status may find out more by reading their employment contract. This document generally states when employment begins, what a worker's salary is and if he or she is entitled to benefits. It may also include a confidentiality agreement as well as define the terms under which a person can be terminated. In some cases, employers may create oral as opposed to written agreements.

Lawsuit claims Tesla engages in racist activity

New Jersey residents may have heard about lawsuits against Tesla regarding allegations of ageism and gender discrimination. It has also faced a lawsuit related to racial discrimination that was filed in October 2017. On Nov. 13, another race discrimination lawsuit was filed in Alameda County Superior Court in California by an employee at the company's factory in Fremont.

The most recent lawsuit against Tesla has obtained class action status and represents all black workers at the factory. According to the suit, the technology that the company is developing is groundbreaking while race relations are stuck in the past. For his part, CEO Elon Musk said that those who were offended should accept apologies given by their colleagues and to grow a thicker skin. Tesla responded to the lawsuit itself with a blog post.

Spousal jealousy and employment discrimination law

Like most states in the U.S., New Jersey law specifies that employment is "at-will," which means that that employees are free to quit their jobs for any reason if they have not signed an employment contract. Employers are also free to terminate employment without cause.

A recent discrimination lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania alleges that the president of a company treated an employee differently because the president's wife did not want him to work with any other women. The president's wife was also employed by the company and regularly attended company meetings.

EEOC files flurry of claims at end of fiscal year

September is the final month of the fiscal year for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the rest of the federal government. Therefore, there tend to be a spike of cases filed by the agency on behalf of New Jersey residents and others throughout the country. In 2017, there were 86 cases filed during the month of September, and many were claims of disability and sex discrimination. That was the largest number of cases filed at the end of a fiscal year since 2011.

Disability discrimination cases were a priority for the EEOC during this time. Specifically, it made a point to file cases related to gender-based pay disparities as well as cases involving pregnant workers. However, sex discrimination cases involving LGBT members received less attention from the EEOC during the September filing spike. Overall, there were 191 cases filed during the 2017 fiscal year, which was an increase from 86 new cases the year before.

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