Court Ruling Says NJLAD Protects Some Out-of-State Workers

New Jersey boasts some of the biggest companies in the world, spanning a wide range of industries and employing workers who live all around the country. Those out-of-state workers just got a big boost from New Jersey’s Appellate Division, which determined that, in certain circumstances, they are protected by the state’s highly-regarded Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD).

The case was filed by David Calabotta. Calabotta was Vice President of Marketing and Technology Deployment for the company’s Prince Agri Products subsidiary, which is located in Illinois where he himself lived. Calabotta had been employed by the company for eight years when he applied for a new position based at Phibro’s New Jersey headquarters: according to his complaint he was not granted an interview because his wife had been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. He was fired two months later following an accusation of inappropriate behavior at a national conference.

Mr. Calabotta sued the company, as well as the senior VP of human resources and his supervisor, charging them with both wrongful termination and discrimination in violation of NJLAD’s protections against discrimination based on association with a person with a disability. Though the trial court dismissed the charges based on his out-of-state status, the appeals court ruled that the law was meant to eliminate what it explicitly called “the cancer of discrimination,” and therefore was meant to be interpreted broadly. Following that assessment, they decided that New Jersey was the state with the most significant relationship to the assertion of discrimination. The court also stated that it was fair for job applicants to assume that when they apply for a job in another state, that state’s laws will apply to the hiring and selection process. Based on that and more, they decided that New Jersey’s laws should apply.

The appellate court’s ruling is just one more indication of the remarkable strength of the protections provided by the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Whether you are a New Jersey resident who believes you have been a victim of discrimination or harassment or an out-of-state employee working for a New Jersey company, the NJLAD protects your rights. Contact us to learn how we can help make sure that the law’s protections are used to your best advantage.

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