New Jersey Racial Discrimination Attorneys
We group these characteristics together because in today’s very diverse and highly mobile world, many people identify themselves in more complex ways, rather than just as a member of one race or another. Many people are biracial or multiracial, and issues arise as to whether categories like “Latino/Latina” or “Hispanic” are races or ethnicities or cultural identities. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination does not define any of these terms. As a result, they have their commonly understood meanings. Race means an identifiable group of people sharing a physically visible distinguishing characteristic, such as skin color, which is itself specifically mentioned in the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Ancestry refers to one’s familial background or ethnicity, such as being Italian-American. Nationality refers to one’s country of citizenship. National origin refers to the country in which one was born or raised prior to coming to the United States.
While race discrimination is alive and well in New Jersey, employers generally try to hide their discriminatory intent and motives. As a result, New Jersey employers tend not to engage in obvious race discrimination. Even that is not without exceptions because we have handled cases involving workplaces where “KKK” graffiti and nooses were present. More common are cases in which the discrimination is indirect and subtler, involving promotional, demotion or termination decisions and pay rates. While the subtler forms of discrimination are more challenging to prove, indirect proof through circumstantial evidence is enough by itself to prove discrimination. In other words, you don’t have to show direct evidence like racist comments to prove discrimination.
While nationality and national origin discrimination cases usually involve discrimination against immigrants to this country, there are also many cases involving discrimination against native-born Americans by companies that are based in other countries. In some of those other countries, it is legal (or at least culturally acceptable) to favor employees from the home country. So, for example, Americans working for those foreign-owned companies here will sometime bump up against a nationality/national origin “glass ceiling” that allows only employees from the home country to hold high-level management positions. Similarly, foreign-owned companies will sometimes buy American companies and then replace all of the American managers and executives with counterparts from the home country.
If you are being or have been discriminated against because of your race, color, ancestry, nationality or national origin, call the New Jersey racial discrimination attorneys at Lenzo & Reis, LLC at 973-845-9922. We handle discrimination claims in Morristown, Newark, Jersey City and throughout New Jersey.