University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Hester v. New Jersey Transit EE-NJ-0127
Docket / Court ESX-L-2614-09 ( State Court )
State/Territory New Jersey
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Case Summary
This case involving minorities and women employed at the New Jersey Transit was filed on March 26, 2009, in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought monetary and injunctive relief, claiming that defendants engaged in a continuing pattern ... read more >
This case involving minorities and women employed at the New Jersey Transit was filed on March 26, 2009, in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought monetary and injunctive relief, claiming that defendants engaged in a continuing pattern and practice of harassment, disparate treatment, discrimination and retaliation against minority employees (male and female), thereby violating state antidiscrimination law.

The complaint alleged that defendants engaged in discriminatory and retaliatory conduct toward minority employees, such as using racial slurs towards minority employees, thereby creating an hostile work environment; that defendants engaged in unfair and harsher discipline towards minority and female employees, that defendants retaliated against employees who complain or resist the discriminatory practices, that individuals who cooperated with the defendants were treated more favorably, that defendants failed to have or enforce an anti-harassment and anti-retaliation policy, and that defendants failed to supervise employees to ensure compliance with policies.

The requested relief included compensatory damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief in the form of promotions as well as the removal of individual defendants from the office, as well as attorneys fees and costs.

Plaintiffs and defendants negotiated a settlement agreement in late September, 2009, awarding plaintiffs $5,800,000 (but no additional costs or attorneys' fees). Defendants also agreed to reinstate one plaintiff back to his former position as a detective in the New Jersey Transit Police Department, to train employees on equal employment opportunity practices, to pay mediation expenses, and to appoint for two years an ombudsman -- a New Jersey Transit employee chosen by New Jersey Transit and is not under the control of its police department, to ensure complaints of discrimination and retaliation are investigated fairly.

Alice Liu - 10/04/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Position Restored
Post/Distribute Notice of Rights / EE Law
Provide antidiscrimination training
Reinstatement
Retaliation Prohibition
Defendant-type
Transportation
Discrimination-area
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Discipline
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Medical Exam / Inquiry
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Training
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Retaliation
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action State law
State Anti-Discrimination Law
Defendant(s) New Jersey Transit
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs, men and women of African-American or Hispanic descent, are all current and former employees of New Jersey Transit Police department.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2010 - 2012
Case Closing Year 2012
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
L-002614-09 (State Trial Court) 08/28/2012
EE-NJ-0127-9000.pdf | Detail
State Court Website
General Documents
Second Amended Complaint and Jury Demand 11/23/2011
EE-NJ-0127-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Negotiated Settlement Agreement and General Release 09/24/2012
EE-NJ-0127-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Smith, Nancy Erika (New Jersey)
EE-NJ-0127-0001
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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