Discrimination in the workplace is illegal and wrong. It can be defined as unfair and unfavorable treatment due to a person’s race, status, gender, sex, religion, origin, etc. Discrimination can be either subtle or obvious. Luckily, there are both federal and state laws against this kind of discrimination including the Immigration and National Act (NIA) and the New Jersey Law of Discrimination. If you’re an immigrant, whether documented or undocumented, in New Jersey, you should be aware of your options about New Jersey workplace discrimination if you’ve ever faced it.
Job Application Process Discrimination
The job application process is one place where you might face discrimination- oftentimes subtly. For example, in New Jersey, an IT staffing company based in Basking Ridge was caught by the federal government engaging in improper hiring practices. You can read more in-depth about it here on this Patch.com report. Collabera, the IT company, violated the Immigration and National Act (INA) which states that job applicants can choose which valid documents to present to demonstrate they can work in the U.S. Collabera broke this by requesting more and different documents than necessary in order for the prospective employee’s to prove work authorization. In the end, Collabera paid nearly $90,000 the worker who was affected and the United States.
Age discrimination involves treating an applicant or employee less favorably due to his or her age. There is an age discrimination in employment act (ADEA) which forbids discrimination against people who are 40 or older. When both the victim and perpetrator are above the age of 40, it can be deemed discrimination under the ADEA. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NLAD) recently expanded its age discrimination protections in 2021. One way that the law has expanded is that businesses in New Jersey are now unable to refuse hire or promote any applicant or employee over 70 years old. Because of this expansion, businesses should expect more NJLAD claims. Immigrants might be more subject to other types of discrimination, such as age and language discrimination, due to certain factors such as intersectionality, so it’s important to know and understand the different laws that can be used to protect you.
Language discrimination in the workplace occurs when employees or applicants are receiving unjust treatment for the language they speak or even how they talk, including accents they may have. One example of when a person might be experiencing workplace discrimination is when the workplace has a “speak English only policy” even though that is not their primary language. In both federal and state law, language discrimination is considered illegal and a claim can be filed for workplace discrimination.
There are more types of workplace discrimination as well, including gender, race, ancestry, and more. In New Jersey, you will be able to fight against workplace discrimination through the INA, as well as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. This act prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. You can learn more about this act here. It is also possible to file a claim under state law. The New Jersey Law of Discrimination prohibits discrimination based on national origin, nationality or ancestry. One example would be if your construction employer has anti-immigrant policies that disproportionately harm immigrant workers from Mexico and Central America. It is unfair and unjust that anyone should have to face discrimination in the workplace. If you think you faced workplace discrimination either in the workplace or during the hiring process, reach out to me and I can help you figure out your next steps.