Mashel Law Files Race Discrimination Lawsuit Against the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Morganville, N.J. December 27, 2018 - Mashel Law filed a race discrimination lawsuit under New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) in the New Jersey Superior Court, Middlesex County against the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DLWD) and their client's former manager. In the lawsuit, Mashel Law alleges that its client who worked as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor at the DWLD's Division of Vocational & Rehabilitation Services Newark Office, was forced to endure a severe and pervasive pattern of harassment and disparate treatment from her manager because of our client's race, Asian American. Because of the unrelenting nature of her manager's discriminatory conduct, our client filed an internal race discrimination claim with DLWD's Office of Diversity and Compliance asserting 14 instances of discrimination including, but not limited to:

  • Her manager referring to herself as a racist in front of coworkers;
  • Her manager deliberately squinted her eyes at the client while making Bruce Lee jokes, asking if Bruce Lee was "Oriental" while also demonstrating mock karate moves while she yelled out "Hiyah!"
  • Her manager laughing and taking no corrective when a supervising coworker asked the client, "Do you barbeque lo mein?"; and
  • Various other instances of treating the client hostility and differently than other similarly situated employees assigned to work at the Vocational & Rehabilitation Services Newark Office.

After finishing its investigation, the DLWD’s Office of Diversity and Compliance concluded that our client had “substantiated” her claims of workplace race discrimination. Notwithstanding this, the former manager who harassed our client continues to work in her same position of authority running the DLWD’s Vocational & Rehabilitation Services Newark Office.

The lawsuit further alleges that because of the intimidating, hostile and abusive work environment and disparate treatment created by the DLWD and its manager, our client was compelled to resign her position with the DLWD and has and continues to suffer mental anguish and severe emotional distress for which she has and continues to receive medical treatment. The lawsuit seeks from the DLWD and its manager all statutory remedies available to our client under the NJLAD including an award of provable economic and emotional distress damages, punitive damages, reasonable attorney fees, interest and costs of suit.

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