Time and again, employees confront the stark reality of racial bias and other forms of discrimination in the workplace. Most recently, the ubiquitous problem of discrimination has allegedly extended to the upper echelons and command level of the New Jersey National Guard. Over the past few months, the New Jersey National Guard has been riven by internal dissension and controversy after four senior officials accused the two principal leaders of engaging in racial discrimination by barring them from promotions that they deserved based on work performance and seniority. An ex-federal prosecutor is currently investigating these allegations to determine the validity of these claims and whether these actions constitute a violation of New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination.

Colonel Walter Alvarado, Army Chief of Staff, attributes the leaders’ failure to offer him a promotion to his Hispanic identity. He asserts that the leaders discriminate against minority groups and demonstrated preferential treatment of white officers who surpassed him in neither experience nor capability. Colonel Alvarado contends that as a seasoned officer with ample experience, he deserved a raise in rank; he served in the National Guard for nearly 30 years and supervised 6,200 soldiers in the span of three years. The leaders’ refusal to promote him to brigadier general is an anomaly and a drastic departure from traditional protocol. Alvarado was the sole Army Chief of Staff in 30 consecutive years who was denied an opportunity for promotion and was forced to go on leave instead of attaining the position of brigadier general.

Colonel Langston filed a similar complaint against the two leaders for engaging in racial discrimination. He asserts that he was denied opportunities for advancement simply because he is black, while the leaders lavished promotions and opportunities for educational enrichment on white colonels. Colonel Langston also alleges that he was demoted from Director of Operations and Training to Commanding Officer as a result of his inquiry regarding the removal of six African-American members from a technician force. He insinuates that his superior demoted him in illegal retaliation for questioning the reason for the men’s dismissal.

O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble has successfully handled many employment law cases on behalf of clients who have experienced financial loss and emotional anguish due to wrongful termination; an employer’s illegal retaliation or the promotion of an abusive, pervasive and hostile work environment. These cases entail violations of New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination, which categorically prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, color, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, sexual orientation and disability, as well as other protected categories.

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