3 Protected Classes of the NJ Law Against Discrimination

New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination provides compassionate statutory protections for members of many protected classes. These protections bar workplace discrimination in hiring and compensation, in terms of employment and retirement, and in firing. The goal is to ensure that all state residents have equal opportunities in employment regardless of race, religion, gender, and many other categories, including:

Military Service

As a member of the Armed Forces of the United States who is liable for service, it is always possible that you will be ordered into active service. In addition to being provided protection against discrimination by Federal law, you are also protected by the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), which prohibits an employer from discriminating against you in hiring as well as in the way that they treat you on the job. Although NJ allows an employer to refuse to hire you if you have already been called to active duty, the employer cannot fire you due to needing a leave of absence due to a military commitment as long as they already provide leave of absence for other reasons. Violation of the law can provide victims with lost wages and benefits, as well as compensation for emotional distress.

Marital Status

Employers in the state of New Jersey are prohibited from treating any potential employee or employee differently based upon their marital status. This protection includes those who are in civil unions and domestic partnerships as recognized under New Jersey law, and also extends to all other marital circumstances, including being single or married, separated, divorced or widowed. The NJLAD also protects persons who are in the process of divorcing from harassment or discrimination on that basis. These protections also prohibit your fellow employees from harassing or interfering with you based on your marital status, and from retaliating against you if you make a good faith complaint about any discrimination or harassment based on that status. If you have suffered discrimination due to your marital status, you may be eligible for placement or reinstatement in that job along with proper compensation.

HIV Diagnosis

New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination specifically prohibits employment discrimination against people living with any type of physical or mental disability, and explicitly prohibits this type of discrimination for those living with a diagnosis of HIV or AIDS. This means that an employer is not permitted to show any bias against person with HIV or AIDS in hiring or internal promotions, to harass an employee with HIV, or to fire them as a result of their health status. The employer is expected to make reasonable accommodations for those employees as long as doing so doesn’t place an unfair burden on the workplace. Those who have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS are under no obligation to inform their employers about their condition, but if they do choose to share the information it cannot be used against them.

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