What Employment Discrimination Laws Are in Place in New Jersey?

What Employment Discrimination Laws Are in Place in New Jersey?

New Jersey has laws against discrimination just like any other state does. New Jersey law also covers the same protected classes that the federal law does such as race, religion, gender, national origin, disability, age; but it also covers a couple of extra classes that are not protected by federal law such as marital status, sexual orientation, and HIV status as well. Under New Jersey law much like the federal law and other state laws; it's also not about the protected class, but the perceived protected class, for example of your sexual orientation. Sometimes a person is perceived as being gay, and they're not gay, and yet homophobic slurs are made even though the person is not gay and that is illegal as well. Under New Jersey law there's also CEPA, which is the Conscientious Employee Protection Act, which actually protects employees under a whistleblower theory.

Many of the things that would not be considered a whistleblower in New York, for example, can be whistleblowing in New Jersey, so it protects if you have complained or refused to engage in fraud or illegal activity and you're terminated for that, you can also be protected under New Jersey law. If you feel that you've been discriminated against for any of these protected classes, please call the New Jersey discrimination attorneys at Phillips & Associates, and we'll be able to help you.

New Jersey Attorneys Advocating for the Rights of Workers

New Jersey law protects the same characteristics that federal law does, including race, age, religion, gender, national origin, and disability. Moreover, it also provides protection for additional characteristics, such as HIV status, sexual orientation, and marital status. You may also be protected under the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) if you have complained about or refused to be involved in illegal activities and then get fired or demoted. If you feel that you have suffered from discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, you should call the New Jersey employment discrimination lawyers at Phillips & Associates. We can tell you more about which employment discrimination laws are in place in New Jersey and represent you if appropriate.

Which Employment Discrimination Laws Are in Place in New Jersey?

Federal and state laws covering employment discrimination are in place in New Jersey. These laws prohibit discrimination, harassment, and retaliatory conduct based on a wide range of protected characteristics. The applicable federal laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). However, in most cases, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination provides broader protection.

Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, there are a wide range of protected characteristics, including:

  • Age,
  • Ancestry,
  • Nationality,
  • Race,
  • Color,
  • Creed,
  • Marital status,
  • Family status,
  • Sexual orientation, and
  • Gender identity or expression.

If your employer or coworkers perceive you as belonging to a protected status, you may also have protection. Even if you are not gay, for example, it is still illegal for coworkers to harass you with homophobic slurs.

When harassment is directed toward you based on one of the enumerated protected characteristics, this is a form of discrimination. Sexual harassment, for example, might include comments, gestures, assault, or rape. It may involve a supervisor conditioning continued employment on a sexual favor, or it may be frequent or severe incidents that cause a hostile work environment, such as groping, sexual epithets, and inappropriate remarks.

Retaliation in New Jersey

Retaliation is also prohibited under this law. You will need to show that you have membership in one of the protected classes and that you filed your complaint of discrimination or harassment reasonably and in good faith. In some cases, employers choose to argue that they would have taken an adverse step against you even if you had not brought a complaint. However, the law is construed broadly, such that an employee may be prohibited from retaliation even if they complain about offensive remarks or gestures by a supervisor that were not heard by a person affected by the discrimination.

In a New Jersey Supreme Court case, for example, a supervisor's crude remarks when talking to men about women in the workplace were pointed out by a male employee. The employee was subsequently investigated and demoted, and he successfully sued for retaliation under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.

Under New Jersey law, there is also the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), which prohibits an employer from taking retaliatory measures against an employee in certain situations. For example, it prohibits retaliation when an employee discloses or threatens to disclose a practice, policy, or action of the employer or another employer with which there is a business relationship that the employee believes is a legal violation. In another example, an employer also may not take a retaliatory step when an employee who is a licensed or certified health care professional discloses or threatens to disclose a practice, policy, or action that they reasonably believe provides an improper quality of patient care.

Discuss Your Employment Claim With a New Jersey Lawyer

Our experienced New Jersey attorneys can advise you on the protections available to you if you have been a victim of employment discrimination. Contact us online or at (866) 229-9441 for a free appointment with a discrimination or retaliation lawyer. We battle employment discrimination throughout Passaic, Bergen, Morris, Essex, Union, Hudson, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer, Burlington, and Camden Counties.

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