Share

Current Events

Monday, September 13, 2021

NJ Employment Race Discrimination Attorney-Voting Rights Affect Employee Rights

On August 24, 2021, the US House of Representatives approved The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, named for the civil rights leader and Georgia Congressman John Lewis, who died in 2020. This new bill aims to restore the full protections of the original, bipartisan Voting Rights Act of 1965. It has been widely discussed that the bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate.

Not since the Jim Crow Era, Has Targeted Voter Suppression Effort So Proliferated as it Did in 2020 and 2021. For more on increased Targeted Voter Suppression in 2020 and 2021, read down further in this article.

Although the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was reauthorized by Congress in 2006, the Supreme Court eviscerated it in 2013 in the Shelby County v. Holder decision. This case changed the way the Voting Rights Act was implemented nationwide. Chief Justice John Roberts in his opinion stated that the reasoning was  the Voting Rights Act was based on the old data and eradicated practices and was no longer needed. The dissenting Justices and specifically Ruth Bader Ginsberg issued their opinion that this decision set the stage for a new era of voter discrimination.

Voters Choose Who Will Pass Legislation That Restricts or Expands Their Rights as Employees and Other Civil Rights.

Voting rights ultimately impact your rights as an employee as to wage and hour laws, fair labor standards, and the right to work in an environment free of discrimination. When voters have access to vote for the persons they want to represent them in the legislative branch of the U.S. government,  Congressmen in the House of Representatives and Senators in the US Senate, they are choosing which representatives will be drafting, initiating, voting on and passing bills and civil rights statutes which include their rights as employees.

Similarly, on the state level, when NJ employees vote for their state representatives in the NJ Senate and General Assembly, they are casting their ballot as to who will write and promote civil rights and employees’ rights laws as well as determining the governor who ultimately will or will not sign the legislation passed by both houses. The Legislature's main job is to enact laws. Which government representatives you choose will determine what types of laws will be proposed for your benefit. The NJ Senate has 40 Senators, and the NJ General Assembly has 80 Representatives. One senator and two assembly members are elected from each of the 40 districts of New Jersey.

The Lineage of Voting Rights and Voter Suppression Continuing into 2021

Long History of Targeted Voter Suppression in the US                                 

It is not news that apartheid that was equal to that of South Africa at its worse, existed in much of this country from the 1870's to the mid-1960s. Apartheid is government mandated segregation and discrimination by race. Apartheid euphemistically known as “Jim Crow” was more than laws ordering segregation by race. Jim Crow restricted every aspect of a Black person’s life and was a way of life. It was a culture embodying beliefs and ideologies of the superiority of one race over the other in every aspect of their being.

Voter Suppression Post the 15th Amendment

The 15th Amendment, passed by Congress February 26, 1869, and ratified February 3, 1870,  granted Black men the right to vote (women had still not been given right to vote). The 15th Amendment states: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

The Post Civil War period of Reconstruction ended seven years after the 15th Amendment in 1877. Some of the first Jim Crow reactions against the 14th and 15th Amendments were the enactment of state statutes and local ordinances to deprive Blacks of their voting rights. States and towns drew up legal schemes to disenfranchise Blacks of voting rights.

Laws in the 20th Century as a form of Targeted Voter Suppression

The payment of poll taxes was but one of many prerequisites to register to vote in Jim Crow states. Blacks had been economically disenfranchised could not afford to pay the Poll taxes. Whites who could not pay the taxes were excuse from paying the taxes either by a grandfather clause or by allowing them to vote if they had an ancestor who had voted prior to the Civil war,  but there were no such exemptions for Blacks. Poll tax laws continued into the 20th century and 1960's.

It was not until January 23, 1964, that the 24th Amendment abolished poll taxes in federal elections. Because the 24th Amendment only prohibited states from requiring payment of a polling tax fee to vote in federal elections, some states took advantage of the limited federal language to enforce payment of poll taxes as a prerequisite  to vote in their state and local elections well into the 20th century and 1960's. In the 1960's there was white-supremacist violent resistance against persons of all races who were attempting to register Blacks for voting.

Less than 10% of Blacks who attempted to vote in 1964 in Mississippi were permitted to register. Even by 1966, some southern states required poll taxes as a prerequisite to voting in state and local elections.

Tests as a Form of Targeted Voter Suppression Continuing into the 1960's

Jim Crow states enacted “literacy tests” as a prerequisite to voting to prevent blacks from voting.

Many American blacks were uneducated and their ancestors had been illiterate for decades as it had been against the law to teach a slave to read and write. Schools were segregated by race and the funding for and quality of education for black children was inferior. These tests were  administered at the discretion of the locals in charge of voter registration and were not administered uniformly, with the most difficult questions that were required to be correctly answered given only to Blacks who wanted to register to vote.

Even highly educated white voters would have been unable to pass the tests administered to Blacks. Literacy tests were administered in some states in the 1960's.

Not since the Jim Crow Era, Has Targeted Voter Suppression Effort So Proliferated as it Did in 2020 and 2021

Targeted voter suppression continues in 21st Century and in 2021. Numerous states began to enact laws after the 2010 elections making it more difficult to vote. This voter suppression was intertwined with the US’s changing racial demographics and employed practices targeting against the rising voter turnout among non-whites.

After the Supreme Court eviscerated an essential part of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder, efforts to suppress the votes of communities of color accelerated in 2013. Since then, targeted voter suppression efforts have entered a new stage.

Despite voter registration drives to register persons of color in 2020, targeted voter suppression practices in many instances determined who was to be ultimately “eligible” in many states.

In the 2020 elections, 70.9 percent of eligible white voters cast ballots compared with only 58.4 percent of non-white voters. Not Since the Jim Crow era, has voter suppression efforts targeting minorities so proliferated.

By way of example, one state alone purged 560,000 names from its registration rolls in one day. Non-white voters accounted for a disproportionate share of the voters wrongfully removed in that purge. It removed more than 313,000 names from its rolls in an October 2019 purge, and it continued its targeted voter suppression practices during the 2020 election cycle.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act aims to restore the full protections of the original, bipartisan Voting Rights Act of 1965. Full protection for your voting rights will ultimately affect your rights as an employee.                     

If You Experience Discrimination in Your Workplace

I am an aggressive and compassionate employment law attorney who is experienced in successfully representing persons who were subjected to racial harassment and retaliation in the workplace and/or were fired. If you have experienced racism at work, or if you reported it and no action was taken, if you are thinking of resigning, or think you will be fired, or have been fired, it is important that you consult with an attorney who is experienced in discrimination.

If you are being subjected to 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 southern, central, western and northern NJ to meet with clients.


Archived Posts

2021
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2020
December
November
October
September
August
July
March
February
January
2019
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2018
December
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2017
2016
December
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2015
2013
2012



© 2021 Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law | Disclaimer
912 Kinderkamack Road, Suite 3, River Edge, NJ 07661
| Phone: 201-599-9600

Employment/Civil Rights Law | Disability Law | Employee Performance Evaluations | Wills and Estate Planning | School Law and Educational Rights | Municipal Court Appearances | General Practice | | Employment Law | Testimonials

Attorney Website Design by
Zola Creative