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Difficulties in Exposing Race as a Motivating Factor in New Jersey Workplace Discrimination Cases

Although race-based discrimination in the workplace still exists, those who allow race to influence their employment decisions or actions are typically much more subtle.  It is not unheard of for a supervisor to utter a racial slur, make disparaging comments toward employees of color or write bigoted racially motivated comments.  Discrimination by supervisors is based on far less obvious actions or policies most of the time.

Proving improper racial motivations by challenges employer justifications

Since racial discrimination in the work environment are not always based on obvious conduct, claims under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination based on race can be complicated to prove.  The process of establishing a race discrimination case most often involves exposing the lack of legitimacy in the motives offered by the employer for denying a promotion, layoff or other act or decision that provides disparate treatment to minority employees.  When an employee effectively challenges business justifications offered for the employment decision, improper motivations based on racial animus may be exposed.

Discrimination against employees based on race or national origin can be difficult to identify.  Many forms of unfair treatment of employees do not necessarily constitute race-based discrimination, such as playing favorites, using nepotism and engaging in rude behavior.  Even though a bad supervisor may treat you unfairly, this does not necessarily create a claim for employment discrimination.  The fact that you are a minority who is subjected to this type of treatment also does not necessarily give rise to a legal claim.  The key is that the discriminatory treatment must be because of one’s race.

The challenge of gathering evidence in more subtle race-based discrimination cases makes it essential to seek the legal representation of a law firm with a proven record in handling racial discrimination lawsuits.  These cases often involve extensive analysis of the company’s workforce racial balance over time, written policies, unwritten customs/practices, witness observations by current and/or past employees and other evidence.

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Neil H. Deutsch

About Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for…

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Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

About Bruce L. Atkins is regarded as one of New Jersey’s premier practitioners of employment and civil litigation. He has been selected to the New Jersey Super Lawyers prestigious list every year since 2005.  This honor, bestowed upon a recipient by the votes of his peers, is a powerful nod to the skill Mr. Atkins…

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Adam J. Kleinfeldt

About Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigations such as discrimination, retaliation, and whistle blowing matters.  He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for some of his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict…

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Diane Englander Peyser

About Diane Englander Peyser joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in September 2018 where she represents employees in wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment, and discrimination matters. Prior to joining Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C., Diane represented clients in all aspects of employment law on behalf of employees involving unemployment appeals, claims of sexual harassment, LGBT discrimination,…

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Debra M. McGarvey

About Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA),…

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