Plaintiff Awarded $1 Million by a New Jersey Jury in a National Origin Discrimination Lawsuit

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) bars employers from discriminating against employees and job seekers based on several factors, including race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, and age. The NJLAD prohibits discrimination in every aspect of employment, including hiring, terminations, promotions, compensation, and job duties. Employers in New Jersey are also barred from harassing employees and job seekers through various means, such as through making unwelcome remarks, jokes, and slurs, or engaging in other conduct that creates a hostile work environment. Anyone whose rights under the NJLAD are violated can file a legal claim and seek justice and compensation.

One of the types of discrimination that remains a pervasive issue in workplaces across New Jersey and the U.S. at large is discrimination based on national origin. This form of discrimination involves treating people unfavorably in the workplace due to their country of origin, ancestry, ethnicity, or perceived nationality. This can entail harassing a worker or creating a hostile work environment for them based on their accent, cultural practices, or other characteristics associated with their national or ethnic group. A recent jury decision serves as an example of the consequences employers face when they violate the laws that prohibit discrimination based on a person’s national origin.  

About the Case

In this case, the claimant is a woman who was born in Romania but moved to the United States of America with her husband in 2000. She and her husband became naturalized citizens five years after moving to the U.S. The claimant stated that she studied English and even acquired a master’s degree after attending classes where all the instructions were in English.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff started working for the defendant in 2012. Three years later, the claimant started working under a new supervisor. According to the claimant, the new supervisor began treating her with hostility due to her accent and her way of communication. The claimant reported the issue to HR, but the behavior only became worse. The plaintiff claimed that over the years that followed, she experienced ongoing discrimination and retaliation from the supervisor.

In 2017, the claimant was fired under dubious circumstances. That same year, she filed a lawsuit against the company and the supervisor on grounds of wrongful termination and a hostile work environment based on national origin. In January this year, the case went to trial. In March, a New Jersey jury returned a verdict in favor of the claimant. The jury awarded her $1 million ($500,000 for emotional distress and $500,000 as back pay).

The jury’s decision to award $1 million to the claimant shows the significant impact discriminatory actions can have on an individual’s life. The decision also sends a powerful message to employers who are not keen on obeying anti-discrimination laws. This decision serves as a warning to other employers who may be tempted to discriminate against individuals based on their protected characteristics.

Contact Us for Legal Help

Our qualified New Jersey employment lawyer at the Trabosh Law Firm is skilled in helping individuals who have been discriminated against in the workplace. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discuss your case. 

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