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The Special Challenges of Pursuing Employment Discrimination Claims in Federal Court

Victims of employment discrimination face unique challenges according to recent studies of judgments and settlements in employment discrimination cases litigated in federal courts.  Empirical studies of these cases reveal that only five percent of all plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases will receive any form of litigated relief according to an article published in the University of Minnesota Law Review. By contrast, 86 percent of litigated workplace discrimination lawsuits in federal court are dismissed pursuant to summary judgment.

This data related to employees pursuing discrimination cases in federal court reveals the significant challenges employees face when pursuing claims for harassment and discrimination based on the following:

New Jersey employment discrimination law, which is comprised of the Law Against Discrimination (LAD) and Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) provides an effective statutory framework for protecting employees from discrimination in the workplace.  However, many of the difficulties facing employees reflected in these grim federal court statistics also must be overcome in on-the-job discrimination litigation involving retaliation, discrimination and disparate treatment of employees.

Differences between New Jersey and federal court employment law claims

Employees in discrimination cases face a wide range of challenges.  One common obstacle involves an employer putting an employee’s work history under the microscope, including prior and subsequent jobs.  Employment defense law firms also frequently attempt to bury employees in paperwork.

These challenges are exacerbated by a shorter discovery period in federal court.  Because plaintiffs bear a more demanding burden of proof in an employment discrimination case, the tighter discovery period is a more significant obstacle for plaintiffs.  Federal court also provides a more lenient summary judgment standard for employers so it is harder for an aggrieved employee to get to a jury.  These challenges also create an enormous disincentive for employers to settle lawsuits against employees.

Although New Jersey employment laws make it preferable to pursue an employment discrimination case in a New Jersey court, state court may not be an option when an employee seeks legal remedies against an out of state company.  Defendants typically can force a case into federal court if it involves a New Jersey resident and an out of state company.

Neil  H.  Deutsch Attorney Photo
Neil H. Deutsch
Retired

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…

Bruce  L.  Atkins Attorney Photo
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…

Adam  J.  Kleinfeldt Attorney Photo
Adam J. Kleinfeldt
Partner

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…

Diane  Englander  Peyser Attorney Photo
Diane Englander Peyser
Attorney

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,…

Debra M. McGarvey Attorney Photo
Debra M. McGarvey
Attorney

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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