While many employers know that the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) prohibits discrimination and retaliation, they may be surprised to find out that a former employee can bring a retaliation claim regarding events that occurred after he or she was terminated.
Many employers are aware that if an employee complains about discrimination and/or harassment based on a protected class (i.e. race, sex, disability, etc.), that accusation should be investigated and taken seriously. Employers should also be sure not to take any adverse action against the complaining employee (such as terminating the employee or cutting his/her hours or pay) because that may be considered retaliation under the NJLAD.
Although many employers are aware of the risk of retaliation and exercise caution when an employee complains about harassment or discrimination, many do not realize that the risk of retaliation continues even when the employee ceases working for them.
In Roa v. Roa, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that retaliation under NJLAD can encompass events that occur even after an employee is terminated. In Roa, after the employee was terminated, the employer retroactively cancelled the employee’s health insurance. The Court found that while the statute of limitations had run on the employee’s claims regarding the events that occurred while he was employed, he could maintain a retaliation claim based on the insurance cancellation even though the cancellation occurred when the employee was no longer employed by the employer.
Given the Court’s finding, employers need to be very careful in their interactions with former employees. Retaliation claims may arise from insurance issues, like Roa, or from other actions such as challenging a former employee’s unemployment claim or speaking negatively about the employee to a prospective employer.
The postings on this blog were created for general informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice or a solicitation to provide legal services. Although we attempt to ensure that the postings are complete, accurate, and current as of the date of publication, we assume no responsibility for their completeness, accuracy, or timeliness. The information in this blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional legal counsel.
This blog may contain links to independent third party websites and services, including social media. We provide these links for your convenience, and you access them at your own risk. We have no control over and do not monitor the content or policies (including privacy policies) of these third-party websites and have no responsibility for, and no liability with respect to, their content, accuracy, or reliability. Unless expressly stated, we do not endorse any of the linked websites or any product, service, or publication referenced herein or therein. We will remove a link to any site from this blog upon request of the linked entity.
We grant permission to readers to link to this blog so long as this blog is not misrepresented. This site is not sponsored or associated with any other site unless so identified.
If you wish for Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A., to consider representing you, please obtain contact information from the Contact Us area of this blog or go to the firm’s website at www.wilentz.com. One of our lawyers will be happy to discuss the possibility of representation with you. However, the authors of Wilentz blogs are licensed only in New Jersey and/or New York and do not wish to represent anyone who viewed this site in a state where the site fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that state.