EMPLOYMENT LAW: RACE DISCRIMINATION, SEXUAL HARASSMENT,
UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS (AND APPEALS), WORKPLACE VIOLENCE, HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT, WRONGFUL TERMINATION, CONSTRUCTIVE DISCHARGE
NEW JERSEY LAW AGAINST DISCRIMINATION: The LAD prohibits unlawful employment discrimination
based on an individual's race, creed, color, national origin, nationality,
ancestry, age, sex (including pregnancy), familial status, marital/civil union
status, religion, domestic partnership status, affectional or sexual
orientation, gender identity and expression, atypical hereditary cellular or
blood trait, genetic information, liability for military service, and mental or
physical disability (including perceived disability, and AIDS and HIV status).
NEW JERSEY CONSCIENTIOUS
EMPLOYEE PROTECTION ACT (CEPA): The CEPA prohibits employers from taking
adverse employment actions against employees who disclose, object to, or refuse
to participate in certain actions that the employee reasonably believes to be
either illegal or in violation of public policy.
Q. I was terminated from my job. Can I sue?
A. Even though being terminated from your job
always feels wrong, it does not mean that it was illegal. In most states,
employment is “at will”, which means that the employee could be fired for any
reason or without a reason. However, employers cannot discriminate based on
age, race, sex, national origin, disability, or because an employee has “whistle blown” (reported illegal activity of the employer), or filed a workers’ compensation claim.
Q. What if the legal services are too expensive for me?
A. If Law Offices of Yelena Perchuk, Esq. would, upon evaluation of your case, decide to represent you, and if the court will rule in your favor, the legal fees would be paid by the employer. You would also be eligible for back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages, reinstatement (if you still wish to work there), etc.
Q. How I am supposed to know if I am a victim of wrongful termination?
A. Here are some pointers for you:
feel you were discriminated because of your
age, race, sex, disability, national origin, or religion.
feel you were terminated after complaining about harassment or any other form of discrimination.
feel your employer is retaliating for filing a complaint
against your employer violating local laws (i.e.whistleblowing).
feel you were terminated for refusing to perform an illegal or unsafe
act for your employer.
6. You feel your employer fired you for taking time
off for military service, voting, illness of a child, or your own
7. You believe it is going to take many months or years to find comparable
employment (because your employer would give you bad references or would badmouth you), and thus the economic harm you are going to suffer is significant.
8. You were seriously emotionally traumatized as a result of how you were treated
employer has offered you some severance benefits but wants you to sign a
Separation Agreement containing a release giving up your legal rights.
10. New Jersey
Workers Compensation Act, N.J.S.A. 34:15-1 et. seq., (“the Act”) requires
employers to compensate their employees for personal injuries caused by an
“accident arising out of and in the course of their employment,” without proof
of fault. Therefore, it is unlawful for an employer to discharge or discriminate
against an employee because he or she has claimed or attempted to claim worker’s
compensation benefits from his or her employer.
violations of the Act, employers are subject to fines and / or imprisonment of up
to 60 days. The Act provides for reinstatement with back pay for any employee
who is the subject of such discrimination. An employee discriminated against on
account of such discrimination has a right to sue for wrongful discharge.
12. The New
Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act provides workers with a no-fault insurance
program that delivers benefits to anyone who suffers from an illness or injury
while at work or while performing job-related duties. These benefits include
medical expenses, lost wages and death benefits to family members. In exchange
for these benefits, workers agree that they will not file a civil lawsuit
against their employers for damages unless the injury or illness was
employer should be notified immediately after the occurrence of a work-related
injury or illness, and a request should be made for medical treatment. The
employer’s insurance carrier will evaluate your case if the injury causes you
to miss more than seven days of work. However, workers compensation benefits
should never be accepted without first consulting a reliable and experienced NJ
workers' compensation attorney.
Q. What work environment is officially considered to be hostile?
A. A hostile Work Environment is real, if:
1. An employee fears going to work
because of the offensive, intimidating, or oppressive atmosphere generated by
2. The conduct must be
so objectively offensive (sufficiently severe or pervasive), as to change the conditions of the individual’s
the form of discriminatory harassment toward one or more employees based on
inclusion in a protected class.
3. Conduct that interferes with an individual’s work
performance and makes it hard for you to concentrate and
focus on your work, and creates an intimidating, or offensive work
4. A hostile work environment must be caused by discriminatory
workplace harassment based on race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin,
disability, genetics; or it must be caused by retaliation in violation of a
5. The victim or witnesses
typically must reasonably believe that tolerating and even promoting hostility in the workplace is
a condition of continued employment. In other words, the victim or witnesses
typically must reasonably believe that they have no choice, but to endure a
hostile workplace in order to keep their jobs.
Q. After what I believe, was a wrongful termination, I applied for the unemployment benefits and even started receiving them, but my employer disputed it, saying all kind of lies, and I lost. What my next step should be?
A. If you feel that you were terminated wrongfully, and then your employer deceived the unemployment agency, you should contact an attorney who would immediately file a lawsuit for the wrongful termination and would help you file an appeal to reinstate your unemployment benefits. Call the Law Offices of Yelena Perchuk for an initial consultation. We will meet with you to discuss your concerns.
Obtaining the NJ State Unemployment Compensation is your civil right. Consequently, when an employer lies to block you from accessing the NJ State
Unemployment Compensation, this employer strips you of your civil right.
The Unemployment Compensation Laws were created to make obtaining benefits easier, but a ruthless, dishonest employer can manipulate the process
if you don’t have protection that only an attorney can provide.
The Appeal Tribunal is the first appellate level within the Department of Labor
and Workforce Development for deciding unemployment insurance benefit disputes.
After filing a claim for Unemployment Insurance, an
individual’s entitlement for such benefits is decided. Under the Unemployment
Compensation Law, the claimant and employer have
the right to file an appeal to the Appeal Tribunal from any such determination
The appeal must be filed in person or by writing to a local unemployment
office within ten (10) days from the
date the determination was mailed or seven (7) days from its delivery. If the
appeal is not filed within the appeal periods, an explanation of why it was not
filed within that time limit should accompany the appeal. An appeal that is
filed late, without good cause, may be dismissed by the Appeal Tribunal.
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination protects
employees of New Jersey from unlawful discrimination in the workplace. New
Jersey discrimination laws make it illegal to discriminate against an employee
because of his or her age, ancestry, military service, color, creed,
disability, marital status, domestic partnership status, national origin, sex,
sexual orientation or gender identity. In order to have a claim for violation
of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the discrimination complained of must
be based upon one of the specifically enumerated characteristics.
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination not only protects employees who work in New Jersey but also the individuals who are seeking employment in New Jersey.
Q. Who is not protected under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination?
A. Independent contractors are not considered employees and therefore do not receive the protections provided under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
Q. I mailed a letter to my employer stating and describing the acts of race discrimination and violence toward me from a co-worker (my employer witnessed all of that and did not prevent it). In that letter, I also blamed my employer for not taking action to stop and prevent my co-worker from calling me "nigger", "lazy" and "stupid". My employer just ignored my letter, so the racial abuse by a co-worker worsened. What are my rights?
A. Employers must conduct a complete and thorough investigation into any complaint of unlawful discrimination.
Your employer will be in
violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination if he or she permits a hostile
work environment to be directed at one or more of its employees based upon a
protected characteristic of the employee. The New Jersey Law Against
Discrimination requires New Jersey employers to have in place a clear and
accessible anti-discrimination policy. If none of this has been done by your employer, you should contact the Law Offices of Yelena Perchuk, Esq.
PERSONAL INJURY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
Q: Is there a minimum personal injury settlement amount?
A: No, there is no minimum or maximum settlement amount. The amount of a settlement in a personal injury case depends on lots of factors, including:
- The nature and extent of the injury,
- The amount of economic damages (such as lost wages and medical bills)
- The amount of time the injury is expected to last
Q: Are medical bills included in a personal injury claim?
A: "Economic damages" would include, but aren't limited to:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Rental car expenses, etc.
General damages include:
If you settle your personal injury claim, it must include all the types of damages available to you, or you'll likely lose your right to recover for those losses.
Q: How do I collect my personal injury award?
A: If the person against whom you have the judgment has insurance, the easiest thing to do is simply to notify the insurance company of your judgment (if they're not already aware of it). The insurance company will usually just write a check for the damages up to the limit of the insurance policy. If the person against whom you have the judgment is uninsured, collecting won't be as easy. You must have the judgment "entered" with the court and then seek to "enforce" the judgment. We specialize in collecting judgments, and it would be a good idea to consult with us.
Q: Can I ask my lawyer for a copy of the personal injury settlement check?
A: Yes, and you should. As a client you have an absolute right to see a copy of the settlement check, as well as to review a copy of the settlement breakdown sheet before the check is deposited. Usually, the insurance company check has both your name and your attorney's name on it, so you would typically have to endorse the check before it could be placed in your lawyer's trust account. Ask your lawyer to provide you with a copy of the actual settlement check forwarded to him by the insurance company, as well as a copy of all checks written by him (which should total the full amount of the settlement).
Q: What is a proper contingency fee?
A: An attorney's fee is usually negotiated, and depends on the complexity of the case, the time at which it settles, and the anticipated costs that may be invested.
33% is the fee that is typically charged as the maximum fee if the matter is litigated through trial or arbitration. The only way to know if your attorney is willing to consider a lower fee is to ask. If there isn't much of a fault ("liability") issue, you may be able to find a less expensive lawyer.
Q: Can my lawyer settle my personal injury case without my consent?
A: It's possible that the retainer agreement you signed with your lawyer allows him to settle the case without your consent and sign the settlement and release agreement on your behalf. If your attorney settled the case without your permission, and you haven't yet signed the settlement and release agreement, you should tell your lawyer that you don't want to proceed with the settlement if you're unhappy about it. If a check has already been forwarded to your lawyer, it's a simple matter to return the funds.
Regardless if your dog or your other dangerous animals, like
buffalo, snake or tiger, would injure someone, or just chase someone, it is
strict liability, except if you prove that the injured party was a trespasser.
trespassed my backyard, and my dog bit him. Am I liable?
A. No, you are not liable if the bitten person was
a trespasser. However, New Jersey does impose strict liability if your dog
bites someone if it is loose or if it bites a person in a public place or someone who is permitted on your property, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or
the owner's knowledge of such viciousness. That means that, in New Jersey, a dog
does not get two bites. So keep your dog fenced in or tied up and away from a mailman and visiting friends.
Q. Who is considered to be not a trespasser if
this individual got bitten on my property?
A. A person is considered to be lawfully
on your property if he or she is on your property performing any duty imposed
upon him or her by the laws of New Jersey or the laws or postal regulations of the
United States, or when this person is on such property upon invitation, express or
implied, of the owner. Again, it means that in New Jersey, a dog does
not get two bites, so keep your dog fenced in or tied up and away from a mailman
and visiting friends.
Q. An individual threatened me with a lawsuit
even though my dog did not bite him. I believe my dog just chased said
individual playfully. However, the man fell because he was unnecessarily running from my
As a dog owner, you can even be
liable if your dog injures someone without biting. If your dog jumped on a
person or chased a person (like in your situation), it could be grounds for civil liability. In considering whether the plaintiff was in a public place or
lawfully in a private place, including your property, you should note that
anyone whose presence is expressly or impliedly permitted on the property is protected
by law. Also, in any areas where the individual may reasonably believe to be
allowed on the property, he or she is protected by law.
Q. Is there any way to prove negligence of
the bitten/injured individual?
A. If you decided to raise the bitten / injured
individual’s negligence as your defense, you have the burden of proof. This
means that you have the burden to prove the bitten / injured individual took unreasonable
and voluntary exposure to a known risk. Therefore, you have to prove that the bitten / injured
individual "knew" the dog had a propensity to bite either because of
the dog's known viciousness or because of the bitten / injured individual’s
deliberate acts intended to incite the animal. For instance, a dog owner has no
liability if, in self-defense, the dog bites back a person who beats or
torments said dog.