A race discrimination complaint was filed on behalf our client against a large New Jersey hospital for racial discrimination in termination.
Our client, the only female African-American paramedic at the hospital, alleged that she was fired from her position as a paramedic for submitting a patient care report containing an alleged error, while her white male partner, who also reviewed and signed the report, was not disciplined.
Previously, after our client repeatedly complained that she was being treated in a discriminatory manner with respect to her promotion, she was finally promoted. However, just one (1) month after being promoted to a paramedic, she was demoted back to an EMT and told to take a refresher course. She was told that she was unskilled to be a paramedic, despite being certified as a Paramedic by the National Registry, Emergency Medical Technicians-Paramedic, and completed all necessary training and tests to become a paramedic, and possessing an associate degree in paramedic studies.
She was the only paramedic EVER demoted by the hospital, which did not give her any written notice or explanation for her devotion.
After our client protested that there was no reason for her demotion, and that she believed that the decision to demote her was made on account of her race – the fact that she was an African-American woman and black, she was fired.
During discovery, it was discovered that several non-African-American paramedics committed substantially similar infractions (making an error/omission on a patient care report) but were not similarly fired.
The defendants filed a motion to dismiss her case on summary judgment claiming she lacked evidence of discrimination. However, that motion was rejected by a judge.
The case was settled on the eve of trial.
It is unlawful under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) to terminate an employee on account of her race, color, sex, disability, national origin, etc., in retaliation for complaining about discriminatory treatment, etc.
There are two ways to prove discrimination: (1) by direct evidence and (2) by circumstantial evidence. Examples of direct evidence include, but not limited to, tape recorded conversations, emails, texts, comments on social media websites, or other forms of writing, in which the person specifically makes a racial comment related to termination or discipline. However, since most people of some sophistication are often embarrassed to make any racist statements, and often hides it from others, this type of evidence is extremely rare. Thus, we use available discovery tools accorded to us by the Rules of the Court to examine records of similarly situated employees to find evidence of unequal treatment in discipline. If an employer fires, for example, a White male, for coming to work late a few times, but doesn’t fire a similarly situated Black male for similar lateness, or vice versa, that is, without other considerations, indirect evidence of discrimination. That is, the discrimination comes in the form of conduct, action, and the result of a person’s intent, rather than through his/her speech. Indirect evidence of discrimination is just as good as direct evidence of discrimination.