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New Jersey Supreme Court Allows LAD Suit with No Victim

The goal of state and federal anti-discrimination and harassment laws has always been to discourage these practices by making harassers and their employers liable to the victims for the harm they cause. A recent N.J. Supreme Court decision, however, has allowed a claim under the state’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD) in which there was no apparent victim.

  • While the case — Battaglia v. United Parcel Service, Inc. — involved several claims, one issue before the court was whether there could be a claim for sexual harassment and hostile work environment based on a worker’s derogatory and sexist comments involving women when there was no evidence that female co-workers ever heard or were aware of the comments.
  • The worker who reported the conduct was allegedly subject to retaliation for doing so and brought suit under the retaliation provisions of the LAD.
  • The trial court found that Battaglia had stated and proved a claim under the LAD and awarded substantial damages.
  • On appeal, the Appellate Division reversed the LAD verdict based on there being no evidence that female co-workers ever heard the sexist comments of which the plaintiff complained.  It ruled that there was no evidence that a hostile work environment existed.

The N.J. Supreme Court reversed the Appellate Division on this issue, finding that the anti-retaliation provisions of the LAD extended beyond “complaints about demonstrable acts of discrimination” and that the overall policy of the LAD was to promote a discrimination-free workplace. The court found, therefore, that an employee need only have a good faith belief that the conduct he or she complained of was discriminatory under the law in order to be protected from retaliation. This ruling substantially increases the scope of protections available under New Jersey employment retaliation law.


Neil  H.  Deutsch Attorney Photo
Neil H. Deutsch

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 his…

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Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

Bruce L. Atkins is the Senior Managing Partner at Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt P.C., a prominent plaintiff employment law firm in the tri-state area. Mr. Atkins believes employees’ rights should be aggressively pursued when they’ve been wrongfully dealt with by their employers. He brings this philosophy to his practice when considering each case and its…

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Adam J. Kleinfeldt

Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigation 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 his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a sexual…

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Debra M. McGarvey

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), the…

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Carly Skarbnik Meredith

Carly Skarbnik Meredith, Esq. is a Partner at the firm. Carly has focused her career exclusively in the field of employment law. She has a plethora of experience representing both employees and employers with their employment issues, needs, and concerns. She believes representing both employees and employers has made her an extremely well-rounded client advocate.…


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