Discriminatory Hiring Claims


I think I wasn't hired because I'm a woman, how do I prove it?


To prove a claim of discriminatory hiring, you must show that:
(1) you are a member of a protected class (i.e. a woman);
(2) you applied for a position for which you were qualified;
(3) you were not hired despite your qualifications; and
(4) the employer sought to or did fill the position with a similarly qualified individual.


The interviewer asked me some very personal questions. Is that legal?


The law prohibits an employer from asking questions during an interview to seek information about your membership in a protected group. An employer who asks more personal questions increases the risk that someone may claim discriminatory hiring practices.


The interviewer stated that his customers would prefer to see a man do this job rather than a woman. Is this a legal reason not to hire me?


In New Jersey, the only legitimate reason to exclude members of a protected class is when a protected characteristic is centrally related to job performance. This is known as a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ). The preference of customers, co-workers or employers never justifies sex as a basis for hire.


Must I prove that I didn't get the job because of my sex, and not my qualifications? If so how?


No, you do not have to prove that your sex was the only factor. You must only show that discrimination based on sex played at least a part in the employer's refusal to hire you. It is always helpful to do your homework and try to gather statistics about the company's employment history, since if you can show that your employer has a history and pattern of discriminatory hiring, you will have a strong case.


What could an employer do to deny my allegations, and how do I respond to its denials?


Once you have established the necessary elements to bring a claim of discrimination, the employer has an opportunity to offer a legal, non-discriminatory reason for not hiring you, including changing economic circumstances, the quality of work performance, or another employee with superior qualifications. You will then have to persuade the court that your side of the story is correct, and that your employer's reasons are just a cover-up.


Does it matter when the discrimination occurred?


Under the LAD, you must file a claim with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights within one-hundred and eighty (180) days of the discrimination. If you wish to bypass the Division, and file with the New Jersey Superior Court, you must file within two (2) years of the discrimination. For more information on how to file a claim, click here


What options do I have if my employer has fewer than fifteen (15) employees?


While you are only protected under federal law if your employee has more than fifteen (15) employees, under the LAD, you are protected regardless of how many employees your employer has. So while you may not be able to file a federal claim, your claim in New Jersey is still valid.


If I prove my hiring claim, what remedies am I entitled to?


You will be entitled to equitable relief, which is relief intended to make you whole again. You may be able to recover remedies such as back pay to compensate you for lost earnings, front pay to compensate for a pay differential resulting from discrimination, injunctive relief to correct your employer's discriminatory practices, or reinstatement to any position that you lost as a result of discrimination.



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