How Is Workplace Discrimination Proven?

In New Jersey, workers have both state and federal laws that provide them protections against workplace discrimination. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) makes it illegal for employers to base decisions regarding a person’s employment, including hiring, firing, promotions, pay, etc., on their race, gender, age, religion, national origin, and other protected characteristics. If you think you have experienced discrimination at work and want to file a lawsuit, it must be proven that your employer treated you unfairly using one of three methods:

  • Direct evidence: This is direct proof that requires no presumptions or inferences that your employer discriminated against you, such as a written document or email, or a verbal statement or comment made by your employer. Although direct evidence is the best way to support your case, it may be hard to gather this kind of information unless your employer blatantly made it known that they are discriminating workers, such as if they preferred male workers over female, or that younger workers got to keep their jobs while older workers were being terminated.
  • Circumstantial evidence: In contrast to direct evidence, circumstantial evidence indirectly proves a claim of discrimination through inference. For employment discrimination cases, circumstantial evidence is evaluated by using something called the McDonnell Douglas test. A claim of discrimination must have all of the following:
    • The employee was a member of a protected class.
    • The employee was qualified for the job they held.
    • The employee suffered adverse employment action.
    • The employee was treated differently than or replaced with another employee who is not part of that protected class.
    • The employer must then show that there was a legitimate reason for the adverse employment action that was taken. It is then up to the employee (their lawyer) to provide evidence that the reason given is really a pretext for discrimination or had a discriminatory motive.
  • Pattern and practice: This type of evidence shows that the employer had a distinct pattern of discriminatory behavior that affected several people. This method of proof is usually reserved for class action lawsuits.

What Types of Compensation Might Be Available?

Losing your job for discriminatory reasons is never okay, but workplace discrimination can take many forms. Being treated differently or less favorably than other workers is discrimination as is harassment and retaliation. You might be passed over for a promotion, denied benefits, moved to an unfavorable location, given undesirable shifts, left out of meetings, demoted, or suffer other adverse employment actions.

If it is proven that your employer discriminated against you, the court could award you damages that compensate you for:

  • Lost wages resulting from the discrimination, including back pay and future earnings.
  • Lost benefits such as health care, dental insurance, stock options, profit sharing, pension plans, or 401(k) plans.
  • Pain and suffering for emotional distress caused by the discrimination.
  • Punitive damages to make the employer pay for especially egregious conduct.
  • Legal fees including attorney, expert witness, and court costs.

South Jersey Employment Lawyer at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC Advocates for Those Who Have Experienced Workplace Discrimination

Our skilled South Jersey employment lawyer at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC will answer your questions and protect your rights if you are being discriminated against at work. Call us at 856-235-7075 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel and Atlantic City, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Burlington County, and Camden County.