Why does the burden of proof shift in claims for employment discrimination in New Jersey?
It might be challenging to prove that an employer in New Jersey has engaged in unlawful employment discrimination. Overt rules or remarks that reveal an employer’s discriminatory intent may be absent from the facts of a case.
It established a framework for plaintiffs in cases where they can’t prove the employer intended to discriminate. The burden of proof temporarily shifts to the defendant upon proving enough facts for a discrimination claim. That defendant must provide evidence that their actions do not constitute discrimination.
To effectively exercise your rights, contact an employment attorney New Jersey when you have a dispute with your employer.
A number of laws protect employees from different forms of discrimination (actual or perceived disabilities), such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act (racial, sexist, ethnic, national origin, and religious preferences), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (age for workers over forty years of age), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. McDonnell Douglas is typically applied to Title VII cases but can also be utilized in other federal laws.
Many state courts have adopted McDonnell Douglas or a similar decision.
The New Jersey Appellate Division cited the conclusion of a recent case involving a sex discrimination claim under the statute in the aforementioned case.
It is possible for plaintiffs to point to specific remarks, behaviors, or policies of the employer that are discriminatory. In contrast, employers have a reputation for concealing their tracks and justifying unfavorable actions in a way that sounds acceptable on the surface.
Typically, the framework emerges during the summary judgment phase of a case. Here, the defense can request dismissal of the case on the grounds that there is not sufficient proof to support the plaintiff’s claims.
The McDonnell Douglass decision developed a three-part framework:
- The plaintiff must show that there was unlawful discrimination based on most evidence. Plaintiffs may be excluded if they belong to a protected group, meet the job requirements, are fired or subjected to other adverse actions regardless of their qualifications, or the employer wishes to hire someone with the same qualifications but from a different group or ethnicity.
- If the plaintiff meets their burden of proof, the defendant must now present a non-discriminatory reason for the adverse action.
- Upon meeting this requirement, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s stated rationale was merely a pretense for discriminatory purposes.