Alleging sex- and race-based discrimination that led to inequitable pay, a hostile work environment, and retaliation for activity protected by the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the outgoing business administrator for the Jersey City school district and her husband filed a lawsuit against the district’s interim superintendent, its director of human resources, and eight of the school board’s members.

Regina Robinson was originally hired by the district in 2016, but the board chose not to renew her contract last spring. She claims that after the state of New Jersey returned control of the Board of Education to the local community, an “unlawful employment culture” grew that discriminated against her based on both her gender and on being black.

Her lawsuit indicates that she is paid less than her predecessor, who was male and Latino, and notes that after she filed an internal Human Resources/Affirmative Action complaint regarding the disparity she began to experience retaliatory behaviors, and that these behaviors continued after she registered other complaints.

Ms. Robinson says that she submitted a report regarding an “improper board and administration sanctioned practice” of selling sick days to non-retiring employees, and that as a result she was shut out of meetings about her own staffing needs and undermined with leadership of the Jersey City Education Association teacher’s union. She also alleges that the director of human resources “improperly [preferred] Latino candidates and employees over Black candidates and employees.”

The suit filed by Ms. Robinson and her husband claims that the board and the director of human resources discriminated against her as a black woman, and that other black females had experienced similar hostile behaviors. Several other female African American employees spoke to a local newspaper and indicated that they had been targeted based on their race. Some have filed Affirmative Action complaints and are gathering documentation to pursue their own legal action.

Ms. Robinson notes that her contract was not renewed despite the fact that she had never been formally reviewed by the district and that no written criticism exists of her job performance, and that the same had been done to another black, female employee. She is seeking compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages for violations of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination as well as the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act, and her husband is seeking damages for loss of consortium.

If you are experiencing harassment, discrimination, or retaliation in your workplace, you may be eligible to take legal action. For information on the protections provided by the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, contact our firm today to set up a time for us to meet.