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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Can I Sue for Both Race and Age Discrimination If I Am Fired?

Yes, a person can sue their employer for both types of discrimination. If a person believes he/she has a claim for both age and race discrimination when terminated by the same employer, the terminated employee is bound by the “Entire Controversy Doctrine.” In the context of a wrongful termination, it is a legal principle mandating that all claims by one employee arising out of the same wrongful acts of an employer, should be filed together under different counts within the same lawsuit. 

Therefore, if a terminated employee believes that discrimination based on both race and age (or race and gender, or age and sex, or any two “protected classes” was a contributing factor leading to the employee’s termination, both claims should be brought within one lawsuit under the Entire Controversy Doctrine. If you believe you are terminated or discriminated against by your employer, for more than one illegal discriminatory reason, you may have more than one valid discrimination claim; you do not have to choose when filing the lawsuit.

Older Women Seem to Be Particularly Targeted in Terms of Unlawful Firing. 

It is all too common for an employer to have several types of bias against certain classes of persons. Older women seem to be particularly targeted in terms of unlawful firing. I have successfully represented terminated female employees over age 60, who alleged that they were discriminated against both because of their age and their sex. 

The actual New Jersey Court Rule addressing bringing all claims within one lawsuit is Rule 4:27-1.

Rule 4:27-1. Joinder of claims states as follows:Subject to R. 4:30A (entire controversy doctrine), the plaintiff in the complaint or in an answer to a counterclaim denominated as such and the Defendant in an answer setting forth a counterclaim may join, either as independent or as alternate claims, as many claims, either legal or equitable or both, as he or she may have against an opposing party. There may be a like joinder of claims when there are multiple parties if the requirements of R. 4:28 (joinder of parties), R. 4:29 (joinder of multiple parties), and R. 4:31 (interpleader) are satisfied. There may be a like joinder of crossclaims or third-party claims if the requirements of R. 4:7 (counterclaim and cross-claim) and R. 4:8 (third-party practice) respectively are satisfied.

Both the joining of claims against an employer in one lawsuit and joining of multiple parties are subsets of the Entire Controversy Doctrine that share a commonality of purpose which will be discussed in a future blog.

What You Can Do

If you believe that your employer used race, age, or sex as the determining factor as to who to keep and who to let go, it is important that you consult with an attorney who is experienced in discrimination. I am an aggressive and compassionate employment law attorney who is experienced in representing older workers, women, LGBT and minorities.

If you are being subjected to such unlawful workplace discrimination, contact Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law today for a free consultation.

Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law serves clients throughout New Jersey, including Bergen, Middlesex, Essex, Hudson, Monmouth, Ocean, Union, Camden, Passaic, and Morris Counties with locations in Central, Western and Northern NJ to meet with clients.


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