In the struggle for equality and justice, the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workers have been a focal point of public discourse. The workplace should be an environment that fosters respect, inclusivity, and fairness, yet many LGBT individuals face discrimination and bias at their jobs.
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) is a robust civil rights statute that prohibits discrimination in employment based on various protected categories, including sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression. The law has been consistently updated and expanded to reflect societal changes and to ensure comprehensive protection against discrimination.
Workplace discrimination against LGBT employees can take many forms. It could be a refusal to hire or promote an individual because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Harassment, such as derogatory comments or bullying related to an employee’s LGBT status, is another common form of discrimination. In some cases, employers may adopt policies or practices that have a discriminatory impact on LGBT workers, even if they appear neutral on their face.
Consider a hypothetical situation where an employer denies a promotion to an employee after discovering they are in a same-sex relationship. Another scenario is where a transgender employee is regularly subjected to offensive jokes and ridicule by colleagues, with management taking no action to prevent such behavior. Both instances would constitute illegal workplace discrimination under the NJLAD.
Proving discrimination can be challenging, but several types of evidence can support a claim. Direct evidence, such as explicit discriminatory statements or actions, is the most compelling. However, such evidence is often not available.
In such cases, circumstantial evidence can be used to infer discriminatory intent. This can include disparate treatment compared to other employees, sudden adverse treatment following disclosing one’s LGBT status, or statistical evidence showing a pattern of discrimination against LGBT workers.
Documentation is critical in proving discrimination. Employees should keep detailed records of discriminatory incidents, including dates, times, locations, people involved, and what happened. Emails, text messages, or other written communications can also be valuable evidence.
Employees can protect their rights in several ways. They should familiarize themselves with their employer’s anti-discrimination policies and procedures and promptly report discriminatory behavior. If the employer fails to address the issue, employees may file a complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights or even pursue a lawsuit against the employer.
Legal action can be a daunting prospect, but it is often a necessary step to enforce one’s rights. LGBT workers who believe they have been discriminated against should consult a knowledgeable employment law attorney to understand their options and develop a strategy for their case.
Remedies for Discrimination
Employees may be entitled to several remedies under the NJLAD in cases of proven workplace discrimination. One such remedy could be reinstatement, where the discriminated employee may be returned to their position if terminated.
Victims of discrimination are often awarded monetary compensation. These damages can cover lost wages and benefits, future wage losses, and even compensation for emotional distress caused by the discrimination. In some instances, punitive damages may also be awarded to deter employers from engaging in discriminatory practices in the future.
The court may order employers to change their policies or practices to prevent further discriminatory behavior. This could include implementing new anti-discrimination policies, training on respect and equality in the workplace, or taking disciplinary action against individuals involved in discriminatory conduct.
Legal fees, such as attorney’s fees and court costs, may also be recovered. The NJLAD is a fee-shifting statute, meaning the employer may be responsible for these costs if the employee is successful in their case.
Our South Jersey LGBT Discrimination Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Can Fight on Your Behalf
Any discrimination at work is unacceptable. When you are a member of the LGBT community, you may experience even more hostility and discrimination. Speak with our South Jersey LGBT discrimination lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. today. Call 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients in South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Marlton, Moorestown, and Mount Laurel.