Three hospital workers at Capital Health Regional Medical Center, a Trenton-based medical facility, have filed race discrimination and employment discrimination lawsuits against their employer.
The plaintiffs, who were employed at the Capital Health Regional Medical Center, have accused their supervisors at the Trenton NJ hospital of violating the law by discriminating against them in various ways, including racial discrimination, employment discrimination, and retaliation. Moreover, when the women went to upper management to make their employer aware of the discrimination, management was allegedly “willfully indifferent to the discriminatory conduct.”
The three female plaintiffs filed the discrimination lawsuits in Mercer County Civil Court, which is located in Trenton, New Jersey. The suits name both the Trenton NJ hospital and the individual supervisors who allegedly engaged in the discriminatory behavior and conduct.
The underlying theory of the civil suits is that the defendant hospital violated both federal and state protections against discrimination on the basis of race and disability.
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, and several other characteristics. Meanwhile, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal statute that bars employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, and religion.
NJ Racial Discrimination Law
The plaintiffs in this case allege that they were mistreated by hospital supervisors on a number of occasions. For instance, one plaintiff, a Willingboro NJ woman who worked as a medical assistant, said that her boss at the Trenton medical facility created a hostile work environment by repeatedly using offensive racial terms to describe black employees. On one occasion, her supervisor allegedly told other workers that they should avoid leaving their bags lying around the office because the dark-skinned employees might steal them. Additionally, another supervisor at the medical facility reportedly said that she wouldn’t even bother speaking to black workers “about their laziness” because she simply did not like them.
Ultimately, the medical assistant was reportedly fired and replaced by a white employee. In the civil lawsuit, the plaintiff claims that she was wrongfully terminated for the express purpose of hiring the white worker.
Disability Discrimination Law in New Jersey
Another plaintiff in the case, a Florence NJ woman who suffers from a disability and who worked as a nurse practitioner at the hospital, claimed that her supervisor discriminated against her on the basis of her disability. This sort of discriminatory conduct on the basis of an employee’s disability is explicitly prohibited under the NJLAD.
The nurse actually became disabled a few years after she started working at the hospital. When she requested that the hospitable provide reasonable accommodations for her disabled status, her bosses allegedly refused to offer her the assistance that would have allowed her to continue working at the medical facility as a nurse. Later, just two months after the car accident that resulted in her disability, the hospital fired the nurse because she supposedly could not adequately perform her job duties. Of course, this is precisely why she requested the reasonable accommodations in the first place.
Under both NJ and federal discrimination laws, employers have an obligation to provide accommodations to disabled workers, so long as those accommodations come at a reasonable cost and do not place an undue burden on the employer. In this case, both conditions were met.
NJ Retaliation Claims: Employees Protected against Retaliation for Reporting Discrimination
When the plaintiffs came forward and reported the discrimination to other supervisors and/or the human resources department (HR department) at the Trenton NJ hospital, their employer allegedly retaliated against them. The NJLAD specifically protects employees against retaliation or retribution for reporting employment discrimination. The reason for this protection against retaliation is that workers need to feel free to report incidents of discrimination in order to get their employers to take action and stop the unlawful treatment.
Ultimately, all three plaintiffs were terminated by Capital Health Regional Medical Center. On top of asking for lost wages, lost benefits, damages, and compensation to cover attorney’s fees, the plaintiffs are also asking the Mercer County Civil Court to order that they be reinstated to their old jobs at the Trenton hospital. Moreover, the damages could potentially be very costly for the Trenton hospital and the supervisors because the plaintiffs are alleging that they suffered physical injury, mental anguish, embarrassment, and humiliation as a result of their discriminatory treatment.
KCR Represents Clients in NJ Employment Discrimination Cases
All three plaintiffs are being represented Mark Laderman of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, a full-service law firm that handles personal injury and employment law cases in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Mr. Laderman is a valuable member of the KCR legal team and a skilled attorney with years of experience fighting on behalf of victims of discrimination in New Jersey.