Federal Judge Allows New Jersey Racial Discrimination Contractor Case Against FAA to Proceed

Think contractors don’t have any workplace rights? Think again. Our New Jersey discrimination lawyers are pleased to report that a federal judge in a Camden, NJ court has allowed former Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) contractor Harish Suri to proceed with his racial discrimination lawsuit against the FAA.

Suri, who is of Indian descent, claims the FAA continually passed him up for a position as a permanent employee, while other, less qualified applicants were hired over him. The other applicants were white. The suit also alleges Suri was the target of racial discrimination and hateful comments from his co-workers and supervisors, and faced retaliation after he filed an internal complaint of discrimination.

Judge Joseph Irenas held that plaintiff Harish Suri could bring his claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which provides the exclusive remedy for discrimination claims by federal employees, even though he was never employed by the FAA.

Since the FAA had control over how Suri performed his job, his working hours, and aspects of his employment, the judge said he was eligible to proceed with his lawsuit.

The facts alleging disparaging comments allegedly made by defendants, such as “that f—in’ Indian doesn’t know how to do his job,” were deemed to state a claim for national origin discrimination, the judge said.

Your Right to Fight Back Against Racial and National Origin Discrimination in NJ

Do you work as a contractor or independent contractor in New Jersey? Certain anti-harassment and anti-discrimination laws only apply to “employees” – but, like Suri, you still may be able to pursue legal action if you have been the victim of discrimination at work and you are not an actual “employee.”

Many companies chose to classify some workers as contractors or independent contractors to avoid paying them salary and health benefits. These workers may be employed by an employment agency or as an independent contractor working on W9 agreement.

But – according to the IRS’ website: “You are not an independent contractor if you perform services that can be controlled by an employer (what will be done and how it will be done). This applies even if you are given freedom of action. What matters is that the employer has the legal right to control the details of how the services are performed.”

So – if you are classified as an independent contractor, but you function as an employee, you may still have the legal right to sue your employer if you were the victim of discrimination, harassment, or wrongful termination.

Only a skilled New Jersey discrimination attorney can explain your legal rights in full detail. The New York & New Jersey discrimination lawyers at the Arcé Law Group represents clients throughout New Jersey including: Newark, Jersey City, and Princeton, NJ, as well as in New York City and Pennsylvania. Contact us today at 212.248.0120 to talk to a compassionate attorney about your case. You can also contact us online.We have Spanish and Russian speaking attorneys. Se Habla Español and Мы говорим по-русски.

By Bryan Arcé | Published December 26, 2014

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