An 11-year veteran of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office has filed a workplace discrimination lawsuit against her superiors in federal court. She is accusing them of subjecting her to numerous acts of on-the-job discrimination that followed her having become a mother.
Erin Burns Rubas is a detective and crime scene specialist who has worked for the department since 2007. Her lawsuit indicates that despite “outstanding qualifications” and “unimpeachable records,” after she became pregnant with her first child in early 2015 she was informed that she was being stripped of her on call stipend (a payment provided for on-call time) because her male coworkers would object to her receiving it.
The revocation of a standard pay benefit was only the first discriminatory act that Rubas includes in her 10-count claim against her employer. She reports having been subjected to “constant, continuous and repeated acts of discrimination”, and that in the same year that she had her first child, chief of investigations Gene Rubino deprived her of a work vehicle, attempted to remove other stipends to which she was entitled, and “willfully failed” to inform her of upcoming promotion interviews while she was on maternity leave. She claims that she was denied the opportunity for three different promotions after her 2015 pregnancy and her second pregnancy in 2016.
Both federal law and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) makes it illegal to treat employees who are members of protected classes differently in the workplace, and sex, pregnancy and childbirth are included in those protected classes. The conduct that is prohibited includes discrimination in compensation or privileges of employment, including promotions. Rubas’ civil lawsuit provides specific details of repeated offenses against the state’s workplace discrimination law, including being passed over for promotion in favor of two other detectives who did not possess her qualifications, and one of whom she had trained.
Individuals who believe that their rights have been violated can pursue legal action by filing an administrative complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights or by filing a complaint in state superior court or federal court seeking remedies that may include back pay, front pay, compensatory damage for pain, suffering or humiliation, emotional distress damages, punitive damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs, and interest.
Employment and workplace discrimination and harassment are both illegal in the state of New Jersey, and those who are in protected classes who believe that their treatment has been unlawful should seek the guidance of an experienced employment law attorney. If you believe that your rights have been violated, contact our office today to set up a time to discuss your case. We are here to help.