New Jersey Law Against Discrimination
First passed in 1945, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) is the oldest state civil rights statute in the country. The LAD prohibits discrimination and harassment based on one’s actual or perceived race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, and other protected characteristics. The LAD covers many aspects of public life, including employment, housing, and public accommodations such as businesses open to the public for goods or services. When it comes to employment, the LAD protects people from discriminatory actions such as failing to hire, firing, refusing to promote, pay disparities, or harassment based on belonging to a protected class or possessing a protected characteristic.
The New Jersey employment law attorneys at Poulos LoPiccolo can help you when you’ve been discriminated against at work. We’ll hold your employer fully accountable for their wrongful actions and make sure you receive the job treatment you deserve as well as financial compensation for any economic loss or other harm done to you by the discriminatory treatment. Contact our New Jersey discrimination lawyers today for a free consultation to discuss your claims.
NJ LAD Prohibits Work-Based Discrimination and Harassment
The LAD prohibits discrimination in all phases and aspects of employment – hiring (applications, interviews, exams), assignments, transfers, pay, discipline, duties, hours, promotion, demotion, termination, etc. The law also prohibits bias-based harassment, including both “quid pro quo” and “hostile environment” harassment. Employers can be liable for harassment perpetrated by their supervisors or even co-workers if they knew or should have known about the harassment yet failed to stop it and address it.
Workers are also protected from retaliation for exercising their rights under the LAD, including raising concerns to their employer, filing formal complaints, or cooperating with an investigation stemming from a complaint.
Filing Complaints of Discrimination and Lawsuits Under the LAD
The LAD is enforced by the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR). Workers have 180 days from the date of the incident to file a complaint. Filing a complaint starts with completing an intake form that details specific facts of the incident, including records and documents if applicable. An investigator will then conduct a phone interview to verify the complaint. If the complaint is verified, DCR will conduct a full investigation, resulting in a finding of either probable cause or no probable cause or reasonable suspicion that the law was violated. DCR can promote dispute resolution or conciliation at any step or prosecute the case if it cannot be resolved otherwise.
The LAD allows employees to file a complaint with DCR or a lawsuit in Superior Court. Workers can also originally file with DCR but withdraw their complaint and file in court if the DCR has not yet made a finding of no probable cause and it’s been less than two years since the violation. Employees can also request a hearing with an administrative law judge if it has been 180 days since the complaint was filed with DCR and the agency has not yet issued a finding of no probable cause. Employees can’t file in court after DCR finds no probable cause, but they can appeal the DCR decision to the Appellate Division within 45 days of the finding. Employees who are bound by a mandatory arbitration agreement also can’t go to court, but they could still file a complaint with DCR.
Remedies for Violations of the LAD
Remedies for violations of the LAD can include:
- Compensatory damages (lost wages, back pay, interest)
- Compensation for pain and humiliation
- Attorney’s fees
- Punitive damages for cases brought in court
- Equitable relief (training, policy changes)
At Poulos LoPiccolo, we take the time to listen to your concerns and seek the remedies that are most appropriate for your situation. We’ll get to know you and make sure we have the information we need to build a strong and successful case on your behalf. You’ll visit personally with the attorney who will handle your case, and your lawyer will stay in touch with you throughout the process of building, presenting, and winning your case.
Lawyers Serving Ocean, Monmouth & Middlesex County
For help with a claim of employment discrimination under the LAD, call our experienced New Jersey discrimination lawyers today for a free consultation.