SAFE Act Retaliation
New Jersey’s SAFE Act retaliation attorneys at Lenzo & Reis understand that the dignity of financial independence that comes from work is often not only parallel to but related to the dignity of knowing that you are free from the confines of domestic violence.
New Jersey employers often make a lot of excuses for why they do not deal with employees who are the victims of the domestic violence or sexual assaults. The retaliation attorneys at Lenzo & Reis have heard them all. Some employers have an unsupported and, therefore, irrational belief that the violent spouse will wreak havoc in the workplace. Others just do not want to give employees time off for medical or psychological providers’ visits necessitated by a violent assault, police investigations into related criminal matters, and/or legal representation or proceedings to address the domestic violence or assault. Yet, other employers, simply do not want to deal with an employee who is going through a really difficult personal situation. Regardless of their reasons, employers who discriminate against and/or retaliate against employees who request or take leave under the New Jersey SAFE Act, N.J.S.A. 34:11C-4, are engaging in unlawful retaliation.What Law Protects New Jersey Employees From Retaliation for Taking Time Off Related to Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault?
The New Jersey SAFE Act, N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1, protects certain eligible employees from illegal retaliation for requesting or taking time off from work to deal with violence related to domestic violence or sexual assault. For more information about what constitutes eligible SAFE Act leave, click here.
Specifically, the SAFE Act makes clear that it constitutes illegal retaliation for an employer to fire, harass, discriminate or retaliate against or even threaten to fire, harass, discriminate or retaliate against employees with respect to their pay, “terms, conditions or privileges of employment” because they requested or took leave that they were entitled to under the SAFE Act or refused to disclose information considered confidential under the Act.What Does Illegal Retaliation Under the SAFE Act Look Like?
The SAFE Act lawyers at Lenzo & Reis understand that retaliation can be as varied as employees or employers themselves. If we had to sum it up as succinctly as possible, we would describe retaliation as treating employees more harshly after they request or take SAFE Act leave (or refuse to disclose confidential information) than before they did so. Firing or demoting someone for taking or requesting SAFE Act leave is the most obvious form of unlawful discrimination and/or retaliation. But there are many other types of illegal retaliation and discrimination as well. For example, under the law, cutting employees’ hours of work or pay because they exercised their rights under the SAFE Act clearly constitutes unlawful retaliation. Similarly, involuntarily changing their work location, work hours, or work assignments in a way that is unfavorable to SAFE Act-eligible employees also constitutes illegal retaliation. Giving them poor performance evaluations putting them on performance improvement plans (PIPs) and/or subjecting them to harsher standards and tougher scrutiny because they requested or took leave under the SAFE Act also qualifies as unlawful retaliation as does treating them so harshly that they are made to feel that the terms and conditions of their employment changed. That last example is known as a hostile work environment.How Can The SAFE Act Lawyers of Lenzo & Reis Help Me If I am Being Retaliated Against?
You have legal remedies if your employer is denying you leave to which you are entitled under the SAFE Act or you are being discriminated or retaliated against in violation of the New Jersey SAFE Act. If successful, you are entitled to any lost wages you suffered as result of your employer’s unlawful conduct such as lost wages and lost benefits, payment of attorneys’ fees and costs, job reinstatement if you were fired and want to return to work, and even an injunction restraining further violations of the law. That last part means that a judge has the authority to issue an order directing your employer to either give you the leave to which you are entitled and/or stop discriminating and/or retaliating against you.What Should I Do If My Employer Is Retaliating Against Me Because I Took SAFE Act Leave?
Trying to survive through domestic violence or a violent sexual assault is hard enough. You should not have to deal with the additional stress of being punished at work or, worse, fired just for trying to take the time off from work you need to deal with the psychological, medical, and/or legal issues related to such an assault. If you are being illegally retaliated against at work for requesting or taking SAFE-eligible leave and/or for refusing to disclose confidential information to your employer, contact the SAFE Act retaliation attorneys at Lenzo & Reis at (973) 845-9922 or e-mail by clicking here. We have successfully helped thousands of employees not only receive compensation for the unlawful workplace retaliation to which they were subjected but also retain their dignity. We are willing, ready, and able to help you as well.