New Jersey Police Race Discrimination Lawsuit Settled

July 26, 2011

The Jersey Journal recently reported about a lawsuit filed by five Hispanic police officers formerly on the Hoboken SWAT team. The suit was settled with a $2 million payout.

It's sad to see, but discrimination based on race still exists today. There are state and federal laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace based on age, race, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation and many other factors, yet employers continue to make hiring and firing decisions based on factors outside a person's control, such as their race or family history.
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New Jersey Employment Lawyers seek to ensure all employees are treated fairly and are employed based on their talents, skills, education and qualifications and not based on their skin tone, age or gender.

In this case, the five officers filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the city in 2007, alleging they were subjected to racial slurs and racially motivated mistreatment. Some of the incidents allegedly occurred during two trips to Louisiana to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

After complaining about the treatment, the officers alleged that officials with the police department retaliated against them.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claims of racial discrimination are among the chief complaints that workers make to the agency, which is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against an employee or job applicant.

In 2010, there were 99,922 charges of workplace discrimination and of them, 35,890 were noted to be related to a person's race. In the last 10 years, race discrimination claims have increased:

  • 2010: 35,890
  • 2009: 33,579
  • 2008: 33,937
  • 2007: 30,510
  • 2006: 27,238
  • 2005: 26,740
  • 2004: 27,696
  • 2003: 28,526
  • 2002: 29,910
  • 2001: 28,912
  • 2000: 28,945

That is a 24 percent increase in just a decade. It's unclear whether this means there are far more instances of racial discrimination in the last decade or whether people are more likely to make reports -- legitimate or not.

But this story and others like it show that racial discrimination still exists in the workplace throughout New Jersey and the United States. In 2010, more than 3,300 race-based claims of discrimination were settled and monetary benefits totaled $84.4 million, up from $82.4 million in 2009. Benefits totaled $61.7 million in 2000.

More than 26,000 claims were found to have no reasonable cause in 2010, while the agency found that another 1,300 did have reasonable cause to continue.

In this tough economy, brought on by the Great Recession, many people are thrilled just to have a job. But if a worker faces discrimination on the job or in applying for a job, it is unacceptable and unlawful. Some people will simply take the abuse the unlawful treatment in exchange for having a job. Employers sometimes use the threat of unemployment and bleak job prospects as a way to treat workers unfairly.

These injustices should be fought and consulting with a New Jersey Employment Lawyer is the first step.

If you feel your employer has discriminated against you in New York or New Jersey, contact Resnick & Associates, P.C. at 973-781-1204 or 646-867-7997. We are located in East Hanover, N.J. and Midtown Manhattan on Broadway.

Hispanic cops on former Hoboken SWAT team settle discrimination lawsuit, by Charles Hack, The Jersey Journal