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Nearly $1 million verdict in New Jersey employment retaliation case

Earlier this year, a New Jersey jury’s verdict in a lawsuit brought by a former bank employee made her bank account soar by $935,000. A state appellate court affirmed the verdict in the case in which the employee alleged that her former employer retaliated against her after she complained about unlawful discrimination.

Her lawsuit was brought under New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination.

The plaintiff worked Hudson City Savings Bank for more than 35 years; the bank is about 85 miles south of Morristown. She had over the years talked many times were her direct supervisor about concerns that gender discrimination kept her from receiving promotions.

In 2010, she told a bank executive that she wanted the “respect” and salary given to male employees and a promotion to Senior Vice President. Indeed, her supervisor later recommended that promotion to the position.

But in March of the following year, she was told she was being investigated for violating company policies involving improper transfer of her family’s personal bank accounts and unauthorized use by her husband of her employee ID.

A few months later, she was demoted and she told the COO and HR VP that she thought the change in position was “a discriminatory action” based on her “request for promotion.”

She was fired two months later. In 2013, she filed charges under the state’s Law Against Discrimination, alleging that the bank retaliated against her after she complained of discrimination.

A jury found in her favor with the nearly $1 million verdict, but Hudson City appealed and then the New Jersey appellate court affirmed the jury’s decision.

The case makes a powerful argument that employers should have on their side attorneys who can help ensure that their employment policies comply with New Jersey law, and who are also skilled litigators able to protect rights and interests in state and federal courts.

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