Articles Posted in Uncategorized

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The Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey examined the evidence necessary for claims of retaliation, discrimination and harassment under New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination and New Jersey’s whistleblower law, the Conscientious Employee Protection Act.  The unpublished opinion also examined what law an employee may bring suit under for whistleblower claims at the same time she is also bringing claims of discrimination and sexual harassment under New Jersey employment law.

Background

Nadine Heller is an associate professor at Middlesex County College (“MCC”).  She received tenure in that position and still holds it.  She also held the position of Chair of the Visual and Performing Media Arts Department.  As Chair she was part of the Department administration.

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The Appellate Division recently reversed the dismissal of a casino employee’s lawsuit for whistleblower retaliation, discrimination and sexual harassment, demonstrating again that New Jersey employment law provides some of the country’s strongest employee protections, while also demonstrating the limits of those protections.

Background

In that case, Fox v. DGMB Casino, LLC, Regina Fox was employed as director of security by DGMB Casino, LLC (the corporate name for Resorts Casino Hotel), and had worked there for thirty seven years.  She was sixty two.  As director of security, she was in charge of staffing requirements and other regulatory mandates  of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.  Any changes in staffing were required to be reported to the Division.

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The Federal and State Government has set up avenues of relief to assist businesses in these hard times in the form of loans and grants.  Below is rundown of the New

Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program, through which New Jersey is offering Coronavirus relief to small businesses.

What is it?

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Collectively, New Jersey state and local governments are the largest employer in the State.  Most of these jurisdictions are governed by the New Jersey Civil Service Act.  In New Jersey Civil Service jurisdictions, hiring, firing, promotion and discipline is governed by the Civil Service Act and Regulations.  This makes the Civil Service System one of the most important elements in New Jersey employment law.

The Use of Eligible Lists in Hiring and Promotion

Candidates for initial hiring and promotion in the permanent, career, unclassified civil service are selected and appointed based on their civil-service-jobs-300x200placement on eligible lists (also referred to as “certifications”).  There are five types of eligible lists: Open competitive lists, promotional lists, regular reemployment lists, police and fire reemployment lists, and special reemployment lists.

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New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination has rightly been called one of the strongest employee protection laws in the nation.  This is true both because of the broad range of inherent characteristics  which it protects from discrimination, and the strong legal protections and remedies it provides.  In short, the Law Against Discrimination prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of a wide range of inherent qualities which make them who they are. It likewise prohibits harassment because any of these characteristics as well.  These protected characteristics include race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, sex (including pregnancy and sexual harassment), marital status, domestic partnership or civil union status, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, genetic information, liability for military service, and mental or physical disability, including AIDS and HIV related illnesses.  It also prohibits discrimination or harassment because of an employee’s age.

The Andujar Case

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which hears appeals from the federal district courts in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and the United States Virgin Islands, recently issued an instructive opinion in the appeal of an age discrimination verdict under the Law Against Discrimination in the case of Santos Andujar versus General Nutrition Corporation.

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McLaughlin & Nardi, LLC, welcomes aboard the firm’s newest member, Pauline Young.  Pauline M.K. Young joined us when she was a student at New York Law School.  For some reason, after getting to know us she decided to stay.  We could not be happier.  Besides being an excellent attorney, Pauline is, as Reggie Jackson said, the “straw that stirs the drink.”  She is detail oriented, but excels at working with our staff, attorneys, clients, adversaries, judges and juries, and keeping us on an even keel in the most stressful of environments.

Pauline’s practice includes employment law, commercial law, insurance and professional malpractice, tax litigation, business and real estate transactions, solid waste law (including both litigation, transactions and A-901 applications), among a diverse set of cases she has handled.  To say this, however, is give a dry listing of her experience and ignore where her talents lie.  Pauline can be handed the most complex set of problems, figure them out, determine a winning strategy, and pursue it to a successful conclusion.

For example, in one recent case Pauline stepped into a complex construction defect/commercial landlord-tenant case as it was about to go to trial.  She took literally tens of thousands of pages of documents, organized them – but more importantly, in an extremely short time digested and understood them – and put together a winning trial strategy in a case where each side introduced more than five hundred exhibits over two months in a hard fought trial.

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As the holiday season creeps up on us, it’s good that we have the chance to reflect on what we are thankful for. Here at McLaughlin & Nardi we have much to be thankful for this year.

First, we are thankful for you who give us the opportunity to help people for a living. This is a gift which for which we are profoundly grateful.

Second, we are grateful for the people who help us do that. This includes all of the people who work here. There are those whom you see, such as our attorneys and paralegals, but there are many who you don’t see, including those who do the administrative, research and support work which allows the rest of us to be your advocates and counselors. They are more than just coworkers; they are family.

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face-1618921__340-300x192Where We Stand

Given the reports of sexual harassment and sexual assault which have been flooding the news lately, such as those involving Harvey Weinstein, Megyn Kelly and the situation at Fox News, Kevin Spacey, Bill Cosby, and Ray Moore, we want to make clear where we stand.

We are employment lawyers.  We reject all forms of discrimination and harassment, and stand ready to fight for those who have been the victims of such reprehensible conduct.

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imagesNew Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (the “LAD”) makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, age, nationality, gender, religion, sexual orientation and several other specifically protected groups.  While this covers an array of relationship scenarios, it is often applied in the context of an employment relationship.

Any person who has been subjected to unlawful discrimination in employment may file a lawsuit under the LAD. The LAD specifically provides for remedies to include all those that are available in typical tort actions.  A tort action is generally a civil action in which one person or entity sues another for some wrongful conduct which the actor committed in breach of some actual or implied duty to the other person or entity (other than by way of a breach of contract).  These damages may involve a number of categories such as back (past lost) pay, front (future) pay, emotional distress, lost benefits, etc.  The act also provides for punitive damages – meaning damages in addition to actual losses which are imposed to punish the wrongdoer for egregious and/or intentional acts, and deter future wrongful acts.

In virtually every employment discrimination case, the plaintiff is required to mitigate her losses.  This means that an employee who has, for example, been fired because of a discriminatory purpose or motivation, must make reasonable efforts to find another job to reduce her damages.

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