Discrimination law encompasses many different types of actions and discrimination can take many different forms. This is why it is important to contact lawyers such as Tayeb Hyderally whose expertise lies in the field of employment law. The world of employment law can be difficult to figure out if you do not have help from a qualified legal expert. Ty Hyderally is just that and has many years of successful litigation behind him. It is important for employees and employers to stay informed on the constantly changing world of employment law, especially as it pertains to discrimination. Tayeb Hyderally makes it his business to help companies and individuals be aware of their rights and responsibilities in this area. Alexander v Seton Hall University was a case that made everyone take a second look at New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
In Alexander v Seton Hall University three professors who were female and over 60 years old sued the school. Their claim was that they were paid less than male colleagues who were much younger. They used one annual report filed by the university for the 2004-2005 school year. The report made it obvious that Seton Hall indeed paid younger male professors higher amounts than older female members of the faculty.
The trial court dismissed the case stating that the discriminatory actions occurred more than two years prior to when the employees filed suit. The statute of limitations sets a limit for discriminatory wages at two years. New Jersey’s Appellate Division also upheld this decision based on Ledbetter v Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. in 2007. This case was decided by the US Supreme Court and set the time limitations for such cases.
However, the New Jersey Supreme Court did not agree with these two lower courts. Although the lower courts can use federal law cases for guidance, it does not have to follow the rulings, especially when concerning the LAD. The NJ Supreme Court ruled that each time a discriminatory payment was made it was a separate violation of the law and the two year limit applies to each one.
The Ledbetter case received much criticism since many times employees do not know for a very long time that they are being paid less than other colleagues. If they are unaware that they are being paid considerably less it is difficult to file a suit. It is very possible that the statute of limitations can be surpassed long before an employee becomes aware that their pay is less than other employees. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 was passed in response to the case to bring a balance to the law. This act makes it a separate violation each time an employee is given benefits, paid wages or receives any compensation that is based upon a prior discriminatory decision.
Alexander v Seton Hall University made it clear that one can sue when they receive lower wages based on discriminatory decisions. However, it also reminds employees that it is very important to make a timely claim and not wait too long to file suit.
There are some common misconceptions regarding employment law as it pertains to various cases of sexual harassment. It is very important to contact lawyers such as Ty Hyderally who are experts in this arena. Many think that there is only one set way to deal with a situation where sexual harassment has occurred, or continues to occur. One important factor that must be considered is the company policy pertaining to such issues. According to employment law regulations the steps an employee must take when sexual harassment occurs should be clearly drawn out so that there is no misunderstanding. Employment law specialists such as Tayeb Hyderally must sort through the various circumstances regarding each individual situation to ensure that employees and employers are covered in such cases. One case that was somewhat different from the classic cases dealing with this issue is Gorzynski v JetBlue Airways Corp.
According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are prohibited from harassing or discriminating against their employees because of their race, sex, religion, color or national origin. In cases where a supervisor harasses someone assigned to work under them the company must prove that they did everything within reason to correct the situation and prevent further instances. They may also have a defense if the employee that was harassed did not object to it or deal with the situation according to the company’s set policies regarding harassment. The difference in the Gorzynski case against JetBlue Airways was that the victim only complained to the harasser and to no one else in the company. Is that enough to build a case on? It would certainly depend largely on the company’s policies.
Diane Gorzynski was a crewmember for JetBlue Airways Corporation when she was subjected to sexual harassment. According to Ms. Gorzynski, James Celeste, her supervisor, made massaging gestures and stated he wanted to massage her breasts. He frequently made many different statements containing offensive sexual content; and making sexual gestures while on the job. He grabbed female crewmembers by the waste and tried to tickle them on several occasions. The Second Circuit agreed that his behavior possible created a work environment that was sexually hostile for Ms. Gorzynski.
It seems Ms. Gorzynski did comply with JetBlue’s policy regarding sexual harassment. According to the employee handbook it is to be reported to the immediate supervisor, another member of management or the HR department. Ms. Gorzynski objected to the sexual harassment to Mr. Celeste on many different occasions. However, she did not file complaints with anyone else when the harassment did not cease. Her reasoning was that the HR department had retaliated against other employees who had filed similar complaints at work; and other supervisors had been unreceptive to other complaints she had filed.
The initial claim for sexual harassment was dismissed because she did not complain to any other company agent. But the Second Circuit disagreed with this ruling and declared a jury would have to decide. It was upheld that each individual circumstance is unique. They also recognized the courage it took for Ms. Gorzynski to address the situation to her supervisor understanding that there could be retaliation. It was reasonable for her situation to not complain to another supervisor.
According to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination reasonable accommodations must be made by employers for their employees with disabilities. Tayeb Hyderally is an employment lawyer in the New York and New Jersey areas. He is a legal expert who specializes in employment law cases such as these and successfully litigates for the rights of his clients.
In Bowers v. New Jersey Judiciary Thomas Bowers, an Information Technology Analyst claimed that he had suffered from mental and physical distress because of workplace harassment, discrimination and retaliation. His case claimed that the Judiciary failed to provide him reasonable accommodation according to his level of disability.
Mr. Bowers was diagnosed with Anxiety disorder and the doctor suggested that he take a medical leave from June 6 to July 1, 2007. However, due to the lack of acceptable progress his medical leave was extended several times until he was out until October 1, 2007. According to the Family Medical Leave Act, employees have at least 12 weeks of protected leave. The Judiciary told Mr. Bowers that he was exceeding this protected time and that he would be allowed to use his available vacation time. This would cover his time off until September 6. He was warned that if he was not back at work by September 10 he would be considered to be on “an unauthorized leave of absence” and would be disciplined.
After consulting his doctor and legal counsel Mr. Bower’s lawyer explained to the Judiciary that he would be back at work by October 1. The Judiciary’s answer was that he must return to work by September 10 or disciplinary actions would ensue. Their claim was that the Judiciary had “experienced significant operational hardship” due to his absence. Therefore, they were unwilling to accommodate for his disability. Effective on September 10, 2007 Mr. Bowers was terminated from his position as he had failed to return to work.
The Appellate Division decided that it should be heard by a jury to determine if the Judiciary had failed to provide reasonable accommodations for Mr. Bower’s disability which was in violation of LAD. The courts noted that Mr. Bower’s vacated position was not posted until October 2008 and that the position was not filled until January 20, 2009. Had the Judiciary simply placed Mr. Bowers on unpaid medical leave through September and then allowed him to return to the workplace on October 1 the position would have been unclaimed for only 3 weeks. However, instead, it was empty until January 20. The Judiciary claimed that they had undue financial hardship that prohibited them from filling the position any sooner. If they had overcome this budgetary constraint earlier the jury might have ruled in their favor. As it was, the jury found that the evidence supported Mr. Bower’s claim that the Judiciary failed to accommodate his disability and was in direct violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
Employment laws in New Jersey are in place to protect employees from discrimination or maltreatment in the workplace. Expert lawyers such as Tayeb Hyderally work to inform both employers and employees of their rights and responsibilities. When these responsibilities are not carried out and rights are violated Ty Hyderally successfully litigate the case. Many people are not familiar with how NJ employment law cases proceed.
Ty Hyderally will first meet with clients to discuss the allegations that are being made. At this meeting it is important to bring any documentation that is relevant to the case. This will help the firm assess what rights may have been violated. There will then be an investigation into the allegations. Documentation will be checked and any witnesses will be interviewed. In New Jersey a client does not have to file a claim with the EEOC or DCR prior to filing a lawsuit.
After the investigation is completed there is usually a demand letter sent to the company or defendant. This letter outlines the allegations that have been made against them. In many cases, the company will respond to the demand letter and instigate communication with the law offices. It is entirely possible to reach a settlement before ever having to go ahead and file suit with the courts. This is a favorable outcome as it can save money and time.
If there is no settlement offered or settled upon a complaint will be filed with the court. A claim can be filed with either the New Jersey Superior Court or the Federal Court, depending on the type of allegations that are being made. The court will assign a judge to the case and the complaint will then be served to the defendant. It usually takes a couple of weeks before the court gets the docket number sent back to the law office. As soon as the docket number is filed and received, the complaint will be officially served.
Once the defendant is served with a complaint they have 35 days to answer the matter. Their answer will contain admission, denial or missing information to each specific section of the complaint. Sometimes the defendant will file a motion to dismiss. This simply means that they do not believe the client has enough proof to back up the allegations and they are asking the court for a ruling on their behalf. The case can then be moved from the New Jersey Superior Court to the Federal Court; or the judge can deny the defendant’s motion. If the motion is denied it simply means the court is requiring them to answer the complaint.
The courts then require mediation. This simply means that a mediator will help to resolve the matter between the two parties outside the court room. Most of the time cases are settled somewhere along the way long before going to trial. But if not, the parties must both file pre-trial orders. The case will then go before a jury trial. The jury will render the decision. If for some reason either party feels that the jury was not reasonable in its findings they can request a change of ruling of the judge. The judge can then reduce the award, order a new trial or even completely change the verdict.
It is the responsibility of both employees and employers to become familiar with New Jersey employment laws pertaining to sexual discrimination in the workplace. For those who feel they may have been discriminated against in the workplace based on their gender or sexual orientation, a lawyer should be consulted. New Jersey employment law expert, Tayeb Hyderally offers his expertise to both employees and employers.
What constitutes sexual discrimination law in New Jersey is laid out in the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. According to the law, it is illegal for employees to be discriminated against on the basis of their gender. Decisions such as hiring or firing and any work related benefits cannot be based on the gender of an employee. New Jersey sex discrimination laws also make it illegal for any type of sexual harassment that creates a hostile environment in the workplace. This law is intact to protect both genders from an unfair work environment.
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) defines an employer as anyone hiring an employ including public agencies and it also includes the State of New Jersey. The main difference in this law and federal Title VII guidelines is that it includes any employer, not just those who have at least fifteen employees. The only exclusion in the New Jersey law is for domestic services.
If one feels that they have been discriminated against based on their gender they must file a complaint against the employer within 180 days. This complaint is to be filed with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. They will then contact the employer and allow them a chance to respond to the allegations. If there is no agreement reached early on then and investigator will decide if there is reasonable cause to believe that an individual’s rights were violated. In cases where the investigator finds evidence to raise reasonable cause the employee and employer will enter into a settlement phase. If it is not successful the case will go on to the hearing stage.
There are two options for those individuals who feel their rights have been violated; either file the complaint with the Division, or file it with the state courts. However, it cannot be filed both places. Lawyers who specialize in New Jersey employment law, such as Tayeb Hyderally, can help an individual be aware of their available options. They can discuss both options and help decide which option is best for the particular situation.
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”), N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 et seq., is intended to prohibit discrimination on the basis of several protected categories, including age. However, the LAD contains an exception which permits employers to discriminate against individuals over 70. The “over 70 exception” to the LAD provides that, “nothing herein contained shall be construed to bar an employer from refusing to accept for employment or to promote any person over 70 years of age….” N.J.S.A. 10:5-12(a).
But should this exception permit employers to refuse to renew the contracts of employees based upon their being over 70? Not according to the New Jersey Supreme Court’s recent holding in Nini v. Mercer County Community College, 202 N.J. 98 (2010).
Rose Nini worked for Mercer Community College continuously for twenty-six years under a series of contracts. Her last contract was not renewed and she sued the school for age discrimination. The school countered that since Nini was over 70 she was not covered by the LAD because of its “over 70 exception.” Nini lost in the lower courts, but prevailed in the New Jersey Supreme Court. The Nini majority found that the “over 70 exception” applies to initial hiring decisions, but not to contract renewals. The Nini Court reasoned that a contract renewal amounts to the same thing as a termination, and termination based upon age is prohibited by the LAD’s broad remedial purpose and strong public policy of eradicating discrimination in the workplace. The Supreme Court also observed that it would create a loophole in the LAD’s protections by permitting employers who want to terminate their aging employees to simply put them under contract and then not renew the contract. The Nini Court further noted that it would also have the absurd result of giving greater protections to “at will” employees (i.e., those without contracts) than to contract employees.
One caveat to the Supreme Court’s holding might be the extent of the employee’s pre- existing relationship with the employer. Nini had a long-term and successful pre-existing relationship with the college, which was a significant factor in the Supreme Court’s finding in her favor. What about the over-70 employee whose relationship is only a year or less? The Nini Court failed to address whether or not the pre-existing relationship must be of any specific length or scope. Thus, chances are that employers will try to distinguish cases in which the employee has a short pre-existing relationship from the type of lengthy career that Nini had at the college. Thus, it remains to be seen whether this will be a hard and fast rule, or may be modified down the road.