Retaliation at work is defined as an adverse action by an employer against an employee who asserts their workplace rights. Workplace retaliation can take many forms including termination, demotion, a poor performance review, a change in salary or benefits, being passed over for a promotion or raise, getting transferred, or being excluded from work meetings that you normally would attend. This is by no means a complete list. If you have experienced retaliation at your workplace you should speak to your supervisor or human resources department about your concerns. If they cannot produce a legitimate reason for the negative change in your work situation you may have to consider legal action against your employer.
What Are My Rights in New Jersey?
Employees in New Jersey have many protections under the law when asserting their rights regarding the following:
- Wages including minimum wage, overtime, getting paid on time and in full, prevention of unlawful deductions or withholding, and payment of fringe benefits that have been promised
- Leave benefits including the right to take a temporary leave of absence to take care of a new baby or sick family member (Family Leave Act), a leave of absence as part of temporary disability benefits, family temporary disability leave benefits, or earned sick leave laws which guarantee up to 40 hours a year of paid sick leave for all employees
- You are protected against discrimination based on an employee’s age, gender, race, national origin, religion, pregnancy, or disability. Employers are also prohibited from wage discrimination based on sex.
- You have a right to report unlawful practices by an employer
- Misclassification: construction workers are protected from being falsely classified as independent contractors
Exercising your rights under the law means you can ask your employer about missing wages such as overtime hours you worked but did not get paid for. You should be able to talk to your HR department without fearing adverse action by your employer. It is also your right to file a complaint against your employer or participate in an investigation of a complaint. The law protects you from retaliation for these actions.
If you exercised or attempted to exercise your rights under the law and experienced retaliatory measures, you may have a case against your employer. You can file a complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) or in Superior Court. You can also choose to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). To be able to file a complaint with either of these agencies or in Superior Court it is important to have documentation to support your case. This includes specific facts about the incident such as the names and contact information of the people or entity that you believe retaliated against you and the names and contact information of any witnesses. You should also supply records, emails, text messages or documents pertaining to the incident that support your allegations.
Where Should I File my Complaint?
There are numerous factors to consider when choosing where to file a complaint of retaliation by your employer. The processes, requirements, and time lines are all different. In New Jersey you can choose to file with the DCR and then withdraw it to move to Superior Court, but you cannot file in both places simultaneously. Consultation with an experienced employment attorney can help you determine the best path of legal action for your circumstances.
Marlton Employment Attorneys at Burnham Douglass Represent Victims of Retaliation in the Workplace
Workers have civil rights that are protected by law. If you think you have experienced retaliation in the workplace, our experienced Marlton employment attorneys at Burnham Douglass can help you. Call us today at 856-372-5107 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. From our offices in Marlton and Northfield we represent clients in throughout New Jersey including those in Camden County, Burlington County, Atlantic County, Gloucester County, and Mercer County.