New Jersey Discrimination Attorney Fighting to Put an End to Discrimination
Federal, state, and local laws forbid employers from discriminating on the basis of an employee’s membership in a protected class, such as race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or age. New Jersey has its own anti-discrimination statute, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”).
Under the NJLAD, it is unlawful for an employer to take adverse action against an employee due to their membership in a protected class. It is also unlawful for a business to refuse to contract with an independent contractor because the individual belongs to a protected class. The NJLAD also protects those individuals who are not members of a protected class but are treated as such due to their association with members of that class or the employer’s mistaken perception that the individual belongs to the protected class.
Discrimination is unlawful. If you have suffered discrimination due to your membership to any of the below classes, your rights have been violated:
- Race or Color
- Disability or Perceived Disability
- National Origin
- Domestic Partnership Status
- Sexual Orientation
- Member of the Armed Forces
- Marital status
New Jersey employers have a duty to reasonably accommodate their disabled employees under both federal and state statute. Under the NJLAD, in order to prove that your employer failed to reasonably accommodate your disability you must show that you: 1) were handicapped or disabled within the meaning of the NJLAD, (2) were qualified to perform the essential functions of the position of employment, either with or without reasonable accommodation, and if employed, were performing at a level that met the reasonable expectations of the employer; and (3) suffered an adverse employment action because of the handicap or disability.
When an employee requests a reasonable accommodation, their employer has a duty to engage in an interactive process with the employee to determine the exact nature of the accommodation needed. Unfortunately, some employers do not properly engage in the interactive process and swiftly deny an employee's accommodation request. When this occurs the disabled employee is either terminated, forced to work without the accommodation, or resigns from employment because of the employer's failure to accommodate their disability.
Individuals often call with concerns regarding their employer’s chosen method to execute a Reduction in Force (“RIF”). Generally, these individuals become concerned when they learn that co-workers, who are not members of a protected class, were not similarly affected by the RIF.
Absent a discriminatory intent, an employer can institute a RIF and select employees or positions based on the following criteria: skill, seniority, economic considerations, performance, or any other business-related reason. In order to show that the RIF was conducted unlawfully you must show that you: 1) belonged to the protected class; 2) were qualified for the position held; 3) were terminated in a reduction; and 4) that the employer retained another employee outside the protected group.
When evaluating a RIF, an analysis of how the RIF was designed and implemented, as well as the employer’s method for distinguishing between employees must be conducted. Accordingly, you need an experienced employment attorney to evaluate the details of your employer’s RIF.