A great many of our cases involve discrimination and retaliation. We are heavily involved in cases of discrimination based on race, disability, gender, national origin, and ethnicity.
Marital Status Discrimination in Workplace
Our firm can assist New Jersey employees and prospective employees who have been discriminated against due to their marital status. While federal law does not prohibit marital status discrimination, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) bars New Jersey employers from discriminating against employees or potential employees on the basis of marital status.
But what is “marital status?” Does it mean only whether an employee has a legal document showing he or she is married? What about whether an employee is engaged to be married? Planning to get engaged to be married? Dating with the intention of eventually getting married? On the other end, does “marital status” include being separated or going through a divorce? Until recently, the LAD has offered very little definition of “marital status” to help answer these questions. The New Jersey Supreme Court recently held that “marital status should be interpreted to include those who are single or married and those who are in transition from one state to another.” Smith v. Millville Rescue Squad, 2016 N.J. LEXIS 572, *30 (N.J. June 21, 2016) (emphasis in original). The Court clarified the definition of “marital status” based on a concern that employers would stereotype employees based on their marital status, and discriminate based on those stereotypes:
Protecting those employees who are single, married, or transitioning between those marital states prevents an employer from engaging in commonplace stereotypes that a single employee is not committed to his career or that an engaged employee will be distracted by wedding preparations, or that a divorcing employee will be distracted from his job and even disruptive in the workplace, particularly if the estranged spouse or the spouse's friends and family are employed by the same employer.
(Id., at *31-32).
In Smith, the Court also reaffirmed that the LAD does not exclude anti-nepotism policies from its prohibition against marital status-based discrimination. This is so, even though such policies permit employers to terminate or refuse to hire employees based upon their family relationship – including marriage -- to a co-worker.
To establish a claim of marital status discrimination under the LAD, “the Plaintiff must establish that she is a member of a protected class, that she was performing her job at a level that met Defendant's legitimate expectations, that she was discharged and her termination was under circumstances that would rise to an inference of discrimination.” Cluney v. Mon-Oc Fed. Credit Union, 2006 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2019, *13-14 (App.Div. Aug. 1, 2006)
In order to be the basis for a lawsuit, marital status discrimination in employment must result in an adverse employment action, such as termination, demotion, suspension, failure to hire, failure to promote, etc. If an employer takes any of these actions due to an employee’s or applicant’s marital status, that is marital status discrimination in employment.
It is important to note that employers can be held liable for discriminatory actions which their employees take, if the employer knew or should have known about the harassment or discrimination, and failed to take prompt and adequate remedial action.
Do you believe you have been discriminated against in employment due to your marital status? It’s important to act quickly to find out if you may have a claim of marital status discrimination in employment. Since every situation is different, an experienced New Jersey employment attorney can help you fully understand your rights in this area.
The attorneys at Hyderally & Associates are ready to help you. They have experience working to fight discrimination in employment, so they can review your situation to provide information that will help you decide if you would like to pursue a claim against an employer under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Call an experienced employment attorney in New Jersey at (973) 509-8500.
This article is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice, and may not reasonably be relied upon as such. If you face a legal issue, you should consult a qualified attorney for independent legal advice with regard to your particular set of facts. This article may constitute attorney advertising. This article is not intended to communicate with anyone in a state or other jurisdiction where such an article may fail to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that state or jurisdiction.
“I want to sincerely thank you and your staff for your resolve and professional zeal in resolving my issues with [company name removed for privacy reasons]. I especially want to thank Rob Szyba who handled these proceedings with dignity and a great deal of knowledge and professionalism. He knows what buttons to push and when to push them. He is an asset to your organization. I will gladly recommend your services to anyone in need. It was a privilege to deal with you and your team.”
“It has been my pleasure to work with Ty through the ABA's Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee. His contributions to the Committee have been significant due to his knowledge of employment law and his tireless devotion to teaching trial skills. His service to the profession and his clients is commendable.”
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“Ty is a very knowledgeable Attorney, who has demonstrated a very proven track record in handling Employment cases. His knowledge and assertive approach have made him a very successful Attorney.”
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“Ty and I worked at the same law firm Friedman Siegelbaum. I found him a pleasure to work with and an able and diligent attorney.”
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“Ty was an adversary and never lost sight of his client's needs in seeking a resolution. I would not hesitate to recommend for plaintiffs in employment work. He is methodical and tenacious but fair and amenable to a just resolution.”
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“I have worked with Ty Hyderally on the executive board of the New Jersey chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, and have discussed various employment matters with him. He is an excellent leader, always coming up with new ideas. Ty is truly an expert in employment law and I have found his analysis of both complex and simple matters to be dead on.”
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