Most companies in New Jersey do all they can to ensure that their employees work in an environment free from discrimination and harassment. However, there are still times when employees feel they have been discriminated against or subjected to harassment. Even if a company deals with this behavior, if an employee is terminated for any reason, those prior allegations of harassment or discrimination may form the basis for a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by the employee.
Ray Katz, a well-known sports media executive, asserts that he was discriminated against by his former employed and has filed a wrongful termination case against Optimum Sports, Omnicom Group, OMD, and Optimum's former CEO. He claims that was discriminated against for being old, unmarried and Jewish. Katz alleges that the former CEO of Optimum Sports repeatedly insisted that Katz must be gay since he remained unmarried at the age of 54. Katz further claims that the former CEO told him that single people should make less money than married people, and Katz also claims he knew of single people who were paid less than married people for the same job. As for being Jewish, Katz alleges that the company allegedly had a policy of discriminating against Jewish vendors.
It is not known if Katz complained to the company concerning his allegations of discrimination, a fact which may be relevant as the litigation progresses. Unless an employee brings the problem to the attention of those who have the power and authority to deal with it, the company may be powerless to attempt to resolve the problem. Most companies have policies and procedures in place to deal with discrimination and harassment complaints.
In Katz' case, his allegations concerning wrongful termination and discrimination seem to stem from the former CEO of the company. Companies may want to review their anti-discrimination policies and procedures to ensure they are in line with current federal and New Jersey laws. In addition, when companies review discrimination policies and procedures with company employees, those reviews should include all levels of management. Any form of illegal discrimination is a real and important problem in the workplace, and those companies that deal with these issues proactively may find that they can avert legal problems later. Of course, not every complaint can be resolved to an employee's satisfaction, and when litigation becomes a reality, the right advice and assistance may make all the difference.
Source: Business Insider, "Omnicom Discrimination Lawsuit Reads Like A Gossip Column," Laura Stampler, Sept. 25, 2012