What are my rights if I was passed over for promotion several times due to discrimination?

I’m a black man and I have been employed with the county for 28 years. I have

been passed over for promotion several times. My department. closed down and I have been working out of my title for about 5 years now. Last week the dept. head brought in a white male with 17 years working at the county, as my supervisor. Again I have been passed over for promotion and I would like to know is this legal. Can I bring the dept. heads up on charges for discrimination?

Asked on March 2, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

What you describe sets out a "prima facie," or seemingly on its face, case for discrimination: an experienced African American male passed over several times, especially for a less experienced white male. It is still possible that this was not discrimination; for example, if despite your experience, the persons promoted instead of you had better credentials or some particular qualification you lacked. However, you have clearly stated a case worth exploring. You should contact the NJ Division on Civil Rights (DCR) or the federal EEOC to file a complaint--the agency will investigate. If your employer has some nondiscriminatory reason for what they did, they can present it; if they can't show a nondiscriminatory reason, you may be entitled to compensation.

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