Workplace retaliation in New Jersey is when an employee or job applicant is punished by an employer, supervisor, manager or CEO for reporting or standing up against discrimination, sexual harassment, criminal activity or otherwise illegal actions. This type of punishment is also known as adverse employment actions and is prohibited by both federal and state laws. The experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group have helped people like you get the compensation they deserve as victims of workplace retaliation.
What Is Retaliation in the Workplace in New Jersey?
An employee has rights under the laws. Even in at-will employment states, employees cannot be terminated for reporting discrimination, sexual harassment, criminal activity, or taking part in their legally entitled rights of employment. Retaliation is when an employer, CEO, supervisor, or manager punishes an employee or job applicant for these actions. Retaliation can include, but is not limited to:
• Reduction in pay
• Change in schedule
• Reduction in hours
• Denial of benefits
• Disciplinary actions
• Poor performance review
What Evidence Is Needed to Prove Workplace Retaliation in New Jersey?
In order to prove retaliation, you must be able to prove that the punishment is a direct result of the employee’s action. There are three ways to prove this.
1. Direct Evidence. This is also known as the “smoking gun.” Direct evidence is when you have verbal or written evidence that states the punishment was directly related to your protected actions. The communication does not need to be directed to you, however, it must provide the cause and effect connection.
2. Disparate Evidence. This is evidence that is much more likely to occur. It shows a connection between the protected action and the punishment handed down by the employer. Usually, the punishment will have to occur within a few days to a couple of weeks of the protected action. In addition, this type of evidence will show that this punishment is unique to you as a result of the protected action.
3. Policy Evidence. Sometimes a company policy is retaliatory and can be evidence of workplace retaliation. For instance, a company that has a policy that any employee who joins the union will be demoted has a retaliatory policy.
What Are Examples of Workplace Retaliation in New Jersey?
Workplace retaliation can take on many forms. Here are some examples of workplace retaliation in New Jersey:
• An employee is terminated for joining the local union for his field.
• An employee is approved for FMLA to take care of his child who broke his leg. The employer demoted the employee to a lower-paying position when he returned.
• An employee agrees to testify against his direct supervisor in a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit. Two days later, the employee is written up for staying an extra five minutes as work without written permission. Many people, including the employee, stay at work an extra five minutes without every getting written up.
• An employee reports experiencing race discrimination to HR. She is reassigned to another department in an office an hour away from her home.
• An employee denies sexual advances from her supervisor. She is demoted the following week.
• An employee refuses to submit false invoices to the insurance company. His employer calls ICE on the employee to report the expiration of his work VISA.
• An employee refuses sexual advances from her employer. Her employer terminates the employee and then preemptively files a lawsuit for claims of theft. The employee never stole anything from the company.
• A job applicant refuses to break any laws for employment purposes. He is denied the position.
• A military spouse must take care of her children because her husband has been deployed. She tells her employer she needs to keep her same schedule and cannot come into work before 8 am on any day because her husband was deployed. Her employer schedules her for a starting shift at 6:30 am the following week.
What Is the Statute of Limitations to File a Retaliation Claim in New Jersey?
There are several times limits you can use to file your lawsuit for workplace retaliation in New Jersey. If the reason for retaliation is based on discrimination, the claim can be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or NJ Laws Against Discrimination (NJLAD). Therefore, you will have a time limit of 300 to 2 years to file the lawsuit.
However, there are several other laws that could be violated when retaliation occurs. As a result, the statute of limitations can be anywhere from 300 days to 6 years, depending on the details of the retaliation.
What Remedies Are Available to Victims of Workplace Retaliation in New Jersey?
If you are a victim of workplace retaliation in New Jersey, you are entitled to compensation to help give you the justice you deserve. The courts may provide the following relief for your claim:
• Reinstatement of employment and/or benefits
• Reinstatement of position within the company
• Reinstatement of salary and/or schedule
• Back pay
• Future pay
• Reassignment or termination of the person responsible for retaliation
• Attorney’s fees
• Reimbursement of benefit premiums
• Reimbursement of medical and other related expenses
• Pain and suffering
• Emotional distress
• Punitive damages
How Long Will a Workplace Retaliation Lawsuit in New Jersey Take to Resolve?
Workplace retaliation lawsuits in New Jersey can last anywhere from 4 to 6 months to a year or longer. If your employer is willing to negotiate a fair settlement, the case could settle within 4 to 6 months. However, if your employer is not willing to negotiate a fair settlement or wants the case to go to trial, the case may take a year or longer to prepare for trial and another could of days to several weeks to try.
A Few Things You Can Do Right Now
If you are the victim of workplace retaliation, there are a few things you can do to help prepare for your case.
1. Contact an experienced retaliation attorney in New Jersey immediately.
2. If you are still employed, do not quit your job until consulting with your attorney.
3. If your company has an HR department, report the retaliation immediately.
4. If your company has a retaliation policy, follow it.
5. Gather all the evidence possible. Document every incident, including who is involved, when it occurred, where it occurred, and any witnesses to the actions.
6. Do not waster time. The courts provide a statute of limitations. Therefore, time is limited. Do not waste time filing your claim.
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Workplace Retaliation Attorneys for a Free Consultation
Retaliation protections are in place so employees will continue to do the right thing in the workplace. No employee should be worried about punishment for reporting wrongdoing or refusing to participate in illegal activity. If you have been a victim of workplace retaliation in New Jersey, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group can help. Call us today at (973) 388-8625 for a free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.