New Jersey Transit lost another workplace discrimination lawsuit, marking the second major racism-related claim the public authority has paid out in under 10 years. The case serves as a reminder that employment discrimination is illegal, and pursuing justice can help hold perpetrators responsible.
Original NJ Transit discrimination lawsuit
Between 2014 and 2016, NY Transit litigated another workplace discrimination and harassment lawsuit in which a group of employees sued the state’s transportation arm because a supervisor:
- Used the n-word
- Once placed a makeshift noose around a worker’s neck and said, “this is how things were handled in the South”
- Paid white employees with the same qualifications more money for doing the same jobs as their Black counterparts
In the end, the employees won a $3.65 million award.
Recent NJ Transit retaliation lawsuit
Two people associated with the original lawsuit — Pia Wilson and Jose Rivera — continued to work at NJ Transit and experienced retaliation as a result. Notably, Rivera wasn’t a plaintiff in the first claim; instead, he was forced to give a deposition and apparently didn’t tow the company line when doing so.
According to accounts of the retaliation case, authorities denied Rivera a promotion and stripped him of responsibilities. He also discovered he was paid less than his white colleagues on the same level. Concurrently, NJ Transit transferred Wilson to another position that required her to work longer hours for less pay.
Wilson and Rivera filed discrimination retaliation claims, and ultimately, the transit authority shelled out another $3.2 million.
In response to questions about the settlements, NJ Transit claims to be implementing new harassment and discrimination training that will explore many subjects, including discrimination prevention, retaliation avoidance, unconscious bias, and creating a positive work environment.