The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination:

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What can a New Jersey employer do about a Human Resources Manager who steals and discloses confidential personnel information in order to bolster her discrimination lawsuit?

Nothing, according to the New Jersey Supreme Court in its recent and highly nuanced opinion in Quinlan v. Curtiss Wright Corporation. While theft of documents is, of course, a legitimate ground for termination, if a jury finds an employee was fired for use of the stolen documents in litigation, as opposed to theft, the employer could be liable for unlawful retaliation under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Quinlan is particularly troubling for employers in that theft and disregard for the rules of discovery may be rewarded and leave an employer with its hands tied.

In Quinlan, an Executive Director of Human Resources filed a complaint alleging gender discrimination after the employer promoted a seemingly less-qualified male to be her supervisor. To bolster her case, the plaintiff systematically reviewed and stole more than 1,800 pages of confidential personnel and human resources documents with which she was entrusted. Most of the stolen information came from the personnel files of other employees. The Plaintiff shared the documents with her lawyer.

Please see full article below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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