Disparate job treatment is a special type of discrimination where different groups of individuals are not treated the same within the workplace.
Most often, disparate job treatment cases come about when members of a protected group, such as women or ethnic minorities, are treated less favorably than men or people of different ethnicities. The disparate treatment often involves lower wages but can take a variety of different forms, such as reduced benefits, stricter disciplinary action, or any other unfair treatment. Regardless of the specific details surrounding a situation, however, disparate job treatment is illegal under New Jersey law.
A common example of disparate job treatment involves employees who have similar jobs with similar performance records. Assume that the only difference between the employees is that one is male while the other is female. If these similarly situated workers then violate a company rule or policy, they should be disciplined in similar ways. Disparate job treatment would come about if the female employee were fired for violating the company policy, but the male employee only received a slap on the wrist for breaking the same rule. On the other hand, if the female employee had committed multiple violations, and the male employee had only committed one, then there may not be disparate job treatment, and the firing may be permissible.
How Are Disparate Treatment Claims Evaluated?
In order to prove a disparate job treatment claim, you must prove several facts. First, you must show that you are part of a protected or definable group of individuals. Second, you must be able to demonstrate that you are fully qualified for your job. Third, you must prove that you have been negatively affected by decisions and actions of your employer, and finally, you must demonstrate that the way you and members of your group were treated was less favorable than members of other groups in similar job situations. Although these elements may seem easy to prove, a disparate job treatment case may be difficult since employers rarely, if ever, state that a worker is being fired due to his or her status as a member of a protected group of individuals.
What Remedies Are Available?
Once a disparate job treatment claim has been proven, several remedies are available. The intent of legal remedies is to the make the victim “whole,” or in a position comparable to that the employee would be in if the unlawful discrimination had not occurred. Therefore, if a disparate job treatment victim can prove that he or she suffered financial losses as a result of the illegal conduct, he or she may be entitled to monetary damages equal to his or her losses. Damages for emotional distress as well as pain and suffering may also be available, depending on the circumstances. Finally, a victim may be entitled to recover reasonable attorneys’ fees.
In order to be eligible for these remedies, however, a victim must bring his or her claim within the statute of limitations, which varies depending on the type of action or complaint filed. If a victim delays too long, he or she may lose the opportunity to file a claim or bring a lawsuit. If you believe you have become the victim of disparate job treatment, it is important to promptly contact an experienced employment attorney, who will help you to secure your rights.