Discrimination under certain circumstances is unlawful and -- in many cases -- actionable in the State of New Jersey. That's thanks to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). NJLAD was designed to prevent discrimination in its many forms, including protection from discrimination in
- public accommodations, and
If you believe you have been discriminated against by someone in any of these industries in New Jersey, you may be entitled to file a claim. It is always important to consult with an experienced discrimination attorney. At Kim & Feliz, LLC, located in Fort Lee, we offer free initial consultations so that you can discuss your case and learn more about your options before making an informed decision about how to proceed. Contact us today at (201) 585-2250.
NJLAD Protections: an Overview
Below is a chart -- taken from the Office of the Attorney General, Division on Civil Rights -- outlining categories of protected persons and aligning them with the industries where discrimination against any one of those categories is illegal. As you can see, not all categories are protected in each industry, and that's usually only because the category does not apply.
|Marital or Domestic Partnership /
Civil Union Status
|Gender Identity or Expression||X||X||X||X|
|Disability (Mental & Physical,
including AIDS & HIV)
|Affectional or Sexual Orientation||X||X||X||X|
|Atypical Cellular or Blood Trait||X|
|Source of Lawful Income /
Source of Lawful Rent Payment
Discrimination can happen in any one of these industries in different ways. To help you better understand the scope and appearance of what discrimination means, we provide some examples below.
Examples of Employment Discrimination
Discrimination in the workplace is any behavior committed by one person to undermine another person's position through discrimination based on one of the above characteristics.
- Terminating a person after she advises she is pregnant.
- Name-calling a person for their sexual orientation.
- Terminating an older person and replacing him or her with a younger person of the same or similar qualifications required by the job.
- Denying a person a reasonable accommodation for his or her disability, including providing space for a breastfeeding mother.
- Harassing a member of a minority race or religious group, including making racial jokes, saying racial slurs, threatening a person via email or assaulting the person physically.
- Terminating a person based on a disability unless the employer shows that the disability prevents the employee from doing essential duties on the job -- but the employer must provide reasonable accommodations to enable the employee to do the job.
When people think of the NJLAD, they think of employment discrimination, but as mentioned, the Act also bars discrimination in many other industries and public places.
Examples of Housing Discrimination
The NJLAD prohibits discriminating against people (based on the above categories) when selling or renting property. This law applies to all owners, employees, agents, and brokers.
- Policies to not rent to families with children.
- Refusal to rent to someone with a rent subsidy.
- Refusal to rent to someone who receives child support, alimony, or other supplemental income.
- Denied application based on a couple's civil union or domestic partnership as opposed to a marriage.
There are certain circumstances, however, when a property owner can discriminate, and that's when it is based on sex or age because the community is a planned community for only one sex or for persons of a certain age (e.g., retired persons).
Examples of Discrimination in Public Accommodations
Places of public accommodations are those places that are more or less open to the general public. This law extends to store owners selling products, hotels, restaurants, clinics, libraries, laundromats, schools, etc., -- to name a few.
- A gas station owner harassing a person based on his race or creed.
- A school teacher harassing a student based on gender identity.
- Denied service at a restaurant based on any of the above-listed characteristics.
- Denied dental service based on HIV or AIDS status.
There are exceptions, however, like with age and family status, because some public accommodations may require age or family status for participation like schools require children to be of a certain age to attend or some adult stores may require persons to be of a certain age to enter.
Examples of Discrimination with Credit or Business Contracts
No one should be discriminated against when applying or using credit or entering a business contract or transaction. Banks have been known to discriminate, using a person's color or religion to provide contracts that include higher interests rates. Banks have denied mortgage loans, credit, and other financial tools to persons or classes of people based on the above-listed categories.
How to File a Discrimination Claim in New Jersey
Filing a discrimination claim can be overwhelming and confusing. There are a lot of agencies and processes involved.
The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) is tasked with enforcement of the NJLAD, but it also shares some responsibilities of enforcement with the U.S. EEOC. Your claim may need to be submitted to either the DCR or the EEOC or it may need to be filed with the Superior Court. It is in your best interests to contact a knowledgeable discrimination lawyer at Kim & Feliz, LLC, for guidance.
Generally speaking, to prove your discrimination case, we will:
- Review your case -- the facts and circumstances and all the evidence collected thus far;
- Identify key areas of your case;
- Explain to you the law and what your options are; and
- Guide you through the entire process, ensuring that your claim is filed appropriately and either in the right court or with the right agency.
Protection from Retaliation in New Jersey
In addition to being protected from discrimination, you are also protected from retaliation. If you opposed any acts prohibited by NJLAD, filed a complaint, or participated in a proceeding under NJLAD, your employer cannot retaliate against you because of it.
Limited Time to Act: Contact New Jersey's Smart, Resourceful NJLAD Attorneys Today
If you are being discriminated against, be sure to keep notes regarding when incidents took place, including what was said or done and by whom. Also keep track of dates, times, and whether there were any witnesses. But don't wait to contact a NJLAD attorney just because you are trying to get all the information down. Time is of the essence.
There are statutes of limitations, which means you have a limited amount of time that you can complain and address the discrimination you are facing. Reach out to Kim & Feliz, LLC by contacting us online or calling us at (201) 585-2250.