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Monday, February 21, 2022

NJ Employment Attorney, Black Employee Discrimination and Your Voting Rights

It is fitting in Black History Month 2022, that attention be given to the proposed John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. When states pass voter suppression laws that target Black voters by disqualifying their votes, or by enacting rules designed to throw up obstacles to Black voters getting to the polls, it goes against the intent of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It can effectively diminish the total Black vote when there are certain changes to the rules that allow ballots to be submitted and counted. Research of certain racial and economic demographics demonstrate certain persons of color and lower economic classes are more likely to submit mail-in ballots or vote early because their employment and commuting schedule would make it virtually impossible to get to the polls on the actual election day, unless they take a work day off without pay. Also, the removal of historically, conveniently-placed ballot boxes where certain working-class people would drop off their ballots in-between going from one job to the next etc., and the removal of actual polling places in poorer neighborhoods and neighborhoods where the voters a predominantly persons of color, also is devious targeted voter suppression.

Political gerrymandering whereby Congressional district lines are redrawn in a scheme that in states with a large Black population, there remain no Black majority voting Confessionals districts, virtually ensures that the Black vote is diluted as to their choice for their US Representatives in these winner-take-all districts.

The proposed Voting Rights Advancement Act is named after John Lewis, the civil rights leader who served in the United States House of Representatives for Georgia's 5th congressional district from 1987 until his death in 2020. The Honorable John Lewis was the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee from 1963 to 1966. He is known for being one of the main leaders who organized the 1963 March on Washington along with Martin Luther King Jr., James Farmer, Bayard Rustin, Roy Wilkins, Whitney Young, and Philip Randolph.

Voting Rights Affect Your Rights as an Employee

Workers sometimes think that the issue of voting rights would have no direct personal bearing on the status of their employment or future employment opportunities. But when workers cast their vote for their elected officials, they are voting for their representatives who will ultimately draft, promote and vote on passing laws that expand their rights as an employee or diminish them. These are laws that establish rights for employees who are members of a protected class, such as race and ethnicity. The laws also define the classes that are legally protected from job discrimination. The laws your elected representative pass also establish the minimum wage, overtime rules, and other wage payment and protections.

In the past year, there have been many false claims regarding the proposed John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Dog-whistle phrases have sent out media alarms that this act would result in a government “takeover” of elections and therefore, their rights as individuals will in some manner be watered down. The opposite is true.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is needed to restore the protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Apartheid in this country that was as severe as that in South Africa at its worst existed this country until the mid-1960's. Apartheid in this country was not abolished by law until 1964 with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Jim Crow was more than almost a century of the enforcement of harsh anti-black laws, it was more than Government laws ordering segregation by race restricting every aspect of a Black person’s life. Jim Crow 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.

Even after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, racial segregation continued. Voter suppression persisted and in 1965, the Voting Rights Act was passed to halt efforts to prevent minorities from voting.

The 2013 U.S. Supreme Court case, Shelby County v. Holder gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act’s efforts to eliminate the racial discrimination in voting and the progress that had been made to increase black voter turnout by getting rid of the racial barricades. This case changed the way the Voting Rights Act was implemented nationwide.

After the US Supreme Court eliminated key parts of The Voting Rights Act of 1965, targeted voter suppression affecting communities of color and persons of certain economic classes has been steadily increasing. This was evidenced during the 2020 election cycle and the deluge of new bills in 2021 aimed at restricting voting in certain populations.       

If you quit your job, you may lose right to prevail in a lawsuit.

In many instances of discrimination, if you quit your job, you may lose right to prevail in a lawsuit unless you first take certain legally required measures to preserve your job while you are still employed. If you are thinking of quitting, or think you will be fired, you should contact this office immediately to discuss your options in the safest way for you.

What You Can Do

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 employment discrimination law.

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.

 


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