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Monday, September 25, 2023

NJ Discrimination Attorney How Can I Prove Discrimination If No Witnesses?

Employees may sense they are being discriminated at work because of their age, race, sex, or other legally protected class. Yet they may think that they will not be able to prove discrimination against them if they cannot name a witness of the racist or sexist etc., biased behavior. This is not true.

Invisible Discrimination: Unveiling Bias Beyond the Smoking Gun

There is rarely a smoking gun which may be incontrovertible evidence of direct discrimination, examples: a supervisor’s telling other employees, “We need younger workers,” or a manager giving directions to HR that, “[ A certain ethnic group] is trouble, don’t hire them,” or, “Women always make trouble, they are taking over,” or employees who testify that the employer uses racist epithets. A smoking gun witness does happen more frequently than some might imagine, but the absence of witnesses or direct evidence does not necessarily mean a plaintiff cannot prevail in a discrimination case.

If you are a worker who is experiencing discrimination, you should contact this office today for a free consultation. I accept clients from all over NJ. I have represented employees who were pushed out of jobs because of their age and was successful in recovering financial compensation for their emotional pain and suffering and moneys for lost wages, both for past lost wages and projected future lost wages.

Unveiling Discrimination: The Role of Discovery in Employment Litigation

As a discrimination case brought under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination case moves forward in the litigation, the case enters the “discovery” phase which includes Document Demands, serving and providing sworn answers to Interrogatories, Requests for Admissions, Depositions of the parties and witnesses. Both Plaintiffs and Defendants ask for and answer discovery requests. It is here that a plaintiff may obtain relevant evidence to prove the discrimination.

Among the things a plaintiff can request during discovery, is that the employer produce the employee files of other workers, emails of management and HR, etc. Comparisons of other employee promotions, pay scales, and treatment by the employer to others in the same protected class and those who are outside the plaintiff’s protected class, may prove a disparate treatment case because it may demonstrate when an employer treated other employees more favorably than the plaintiff. The US Supreme Court in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973), stated that this type of indirect evidence is especially relevant to show an employer’s discriminatory intent or a general pattern of discrimination against protected classes of employees. The New Jersey Supreme Court in Dixon v. Rutgers, State Univ., 110 N.J. 432, stated that disparate treatment can be inferred from the mere fact of differences in treatment, and therefore comparison may be essential to a determination of discrimination.

Evidence Unveiled: The Power of Discovery in Discrimination Cases

It is well-settled law that a Plaintiff is entitled to discovery of the personnel files of other employees in order to make such a showing of discriminatory intent or a general pattern of discrimination against protected classes of employees. Relevant comparisons can be drawn between employees who hold different job positions. These comparisons may also be relevant in because it shows that the employer subjected other employees who were members of the relevant protected class to similar discrimination.

The New Jersey Supreme Court in Lehmann v. Toys ‘R’ Us, Inc., 132 N.J. 587 (1993) held that evidence of unlawful discrimination directed at other employees is directly relevant to both the character of the work environment and its effects on the Plaintiff.

Management’s internal emails produced in litigation can reveal relevant evidence of illegal bias, ex., “We need younger workers,” or “Everyone here looks so old,” or “Younger people just learn quicker.” Internal emails sometimes state outright management directions to subordinates that order them to violate the law, ex., “[A certain ethnic group] is trouble, don’t hire them,” or the emails contain sexist, ageist, racist, or homophobic statements, etc. In a pregnancy discrimination case that I filed on behalf of a worker against her employer,  among the numerous emails the Defendants supplied in discovery, was an email from a top-tier manager to the plaintiff's immediate supervisor ordering her supervisor to delete all  files related to the worker's pre-pregnancy performance evaluations, which performance evaluations had given her the highest ratings. The supervisor answered, “I already did that.” These emails provided in discovery thus did provide direct evidence of discrimination, although no one had testified as to discriminatory actions.

Don’t Sit on Your Rights

If you are an employee who is experiencing discrimination, don’t sit on your rights. You should contact this office today for a free consultation. I accept clients from all over NJ. I have represented professional employees who were pushed out of jobs because of their disability, race, age, sex and sexual orientation and was successful in recovering financial compensation for their emotional pain and suffering, and moneys for lost wages, both for past lost wages and projected future lost wages.

If you resign, you may lose right to prevail in a lawsuit.

In many instances of discrimination and retaliation, if you resign, 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.

Contact an Experienced Attorney Today

If you are thinking of resigning, or think you will be fired, or have been fired, you should contact this office immediately for a free consultation to discuss your options in the safest way for you.

If you are being subjected to such unlawful workplace discrimination or believe you are bong pushed out of your job, contact Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law today for a free consultation. I accept discrimination and whistleblower cases from all over New Jersey and have locations in Southern, Central and Northern NJ to meet with clients.

Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law represents workers throughout the entire state, including Hackensack, Jersey City, Newark, Irvington, Orange, East Orange, Trenton, Paterson, Montclair, Elizabeth, North Brunswick, Cherry Hill, Vineland, Union, Plainfield, Hamilton Township, Lakewood, Edison, Parsippany-Troy Hills, Franklin, Lakewood, and every NJ County, including Bergen, Hudson, Middlesex, Essex, Monmouth, Somerset, Ocean, Union, Camden, Passaic, Morris, Gloucester, Atlantic, Burlington, Camden Counties.


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