Did you know that the state provides a broad range of protection for all employees? In New Jersey, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate because of race, creed, religion, color, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, nationality, ancestry, marital status, affectional or sexual orientation, sex, or liability for military service. It is also illegal for an employer to discriminate against matters surrounding genetics.
If you have experienced employer discrimination in the form of any of the above mentioned areas, filing a discrimination claim is the next step. You can file either with the state administrative agency, which is the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR), or the federal administrative agency known as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It is not necessary to file separately with both agencies, as long as you indicate on your claim that you would like it also filed with the other. While there is no limitation to filing with the DCR, the EEOC requires that your workplace must have 15 or more employees. The major constraint is that the DCR you have only 180 days from the date you allege your employer discriminated against you. The EEOC gives you 300 days.
Consulting an attorney very important, for an experienced legal professional will be able to assess your claim and determine the best course of action. While filing a claim does not require the retention of an attorney you do want to consider it for the best possible outcome.
If one of the administrative agencies accepts your claim, they may resolve your case without requiring you to seek an attorney. Having someone to help guide you through the process and the paperwork can be beneficial. If the agency does not resolve your case, your attorney can take it to the next step. However, if the DCR finds that your claim has ‘no cause’, you are not allowed to go to court for it. This is an important concept to take into account when deciding when to seek legal help. If the EEOC does not resolve the issue, you have to get them to dismiss your case through exhausting your administrative remedy.
In New Jersey, there is no limit to the compensatory or punitive damages, but under federal law, there is a cap. There are equal benefits and drawbacks to filing with the DCR or the EEOC and they should be taken into account before choosing with which agency to file.
After filing with the EEOC, you wait for a document known as the “Dismissal and Notice of Rights” which then allows you to file a case on your claim. It must be filed within 90 days after your receive that document. If you have filed with the DCR, you must wait 180 days before requesting a similar certificate. The DCR gives you 2 years in to file a claim after receiving the document.
If you are in this situation and need help, call us today at (732) 422-1000. Attorney Steven Fox has the experience you need to address your discrimination claim.