Federal laws prohibit employers from discriminating against an employee or prospective employee on the basis of a disability or perceived disability. However, in New Jersey, claims are typically filed under the state’s New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) because it offers stronger protections. The South Jersey employment lawyers at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler III, LLC offer comprehensive legal representation for clients throughout South Jersey who have faced discrimination in the workplace.
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination
Under both federal and New Jersey law, employers may not discriminate against applicants or employees because of their disability. The prohibition against disability discrimination applies to all situations of employment including hiring, firing, compensation, terms and conditions of employment, benefits, and layoffs.
The NJLAD is broader than federal laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), therefore New Jersey claims are typically filed under this state law. The NJLAD applies to employers with one or more employees and protects workers with:
- Physical disabilities, infirmities, malformations, or disfigurements caused by bodily injury, birth defect, or illness;
- Mental, psychological, or developmental disabilities that are either medically or psychologically demonstrable by accepted clinical or laboratory diagnostic techniques; and
- AIDS or HIV infection.
The state law also prohibits discrimination on the basis of an actual or perceived disability. “Regarded as” claims are recognized under the NJLAD; therefore, employers may not discriminate against an employee whom they perceive to have a disability, even the employee does not.
New Jersey applicants and employees with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer’s business operations. What constitutes an undue hardship depends largely on the circumstances of the case, however courts will generally consider the following factors:
- Size of the business
- Amount of budget
- Type of operation
- Nature and cost of the accommodation
- Would the accommodation involve waiving an essential job requirement or merely a tangential, non-business requirement?
When an employee makes a request for an accommodation, the employer must engage in an interactive process with the employee. There are many types of reasonable accommodations an employer may provide, however some of the most common ones our South Jersey employment lawyers have seen include:
- Job restructuring
- Modified work schedule
- Flexible leave
- Modification/purchase of equipment or devices
- Modification of physical site
- Communication assistance
Elements of a Disability Discrimination Claim
This prohibition against disability discrimination applies to all situations of employment including hiring, firing, compensation, terms, conditions, and privileges of employment, benefits, and layoffs. Temporary disabilities may also be covered under the NJLAD because according to state law, an employee’s handicap does not need to be severe or immutable to be compensable.
To prevail on a disability discrimination claim under the NJLAD, a claimant must prove that he or she:
- Has a disability recognized under the NJLAD;
- Is qualified to perform the essential functions of the job (with or without reasonable accommodation); and
- Was subject to an adverse employment action due to their disability.
Remedies Under the NJLAD
Those who have been subject to discrimination at work or during the application process may be eligible for various remedies under the NJLAD. There are several types of compensation available, including:
- Injunctive relief
- Reinstatement to the position
- Back/front pay
- Compensatory damages such as pain and suffering
- Emotional distress damages
- Punitive damages
South Jersey Employment Lawyers at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC Represent Employees in Disability Discrimination Claims
If you believe you were discriminated against on the basis of your disability or a perceived disability, contact a South Jersey employment lawyer at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC. We represent workers throughout South Jersey, including those in Cherry Hill, Burlington County, and Camden County from our offices located in Mount Laurel and Atlantic City. For a free and confidential consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 856-235-7075.