New Jersey Appeals Court Rules on Religion and Hostile Work Environments

At long last, the New Jersey Supreme Court has finally decided that repeated, abusive, offensive, and degrading comments about a person’s religious faith or identity in the workplace can provide the basis for a successful hostile work environment lawsuit.

In Cutler v. Dorn, a Jewish police officer, Jason Cutler, was repeatedly subjected to taunts and ridicule from supervisors and co-workers that were based on his Jewish faith and ancestry. For example, Officer Cutler endured words like “those dirty Jews!” and offensive references to his apparent lack of a “big Jew nose.” Co-workers would work their discrimination into conversations in which they would say, for example, “Jews are good with numbers” and “Jews make all the money.” While the Appellate Court deemed these taunts to be mere “teasing,” the Supreme Court issued a strong opinion rejecting that description and found that “[a]ntagonistic, degrading, or demeaning conduct in the workplace that is directed at, or about, one’s religious faith, or ancestry, can be discriminatory and can amount to an unlawful hostile environment.”

If you have been subjected to repeated insults at work regarding your religious faith or heritage, you have a right to stand up for yourself. If you have been fired or quit your job because of such harassment, you may very well be entitled to compensation.

Contact the New Jersey personal injury attorneys at Lependorf & Silverstein to help you defend yourself and protect your rights.