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The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) Prohibits differential treatment based on race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, sex, (including pregnancy), familial status, marital status, affectional or sexual orientation, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, genetic information, liability for military service, and mental or physical disability, including perceived disability and AIDS and HIV status. The LAD prohibits unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, places of public accommodation, credit and business contracts. Not all of the foregoing prohibited bases for discrimination are protected in all of these areas of activity. For example, familial status is only protected with respect to housing.
The New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) requires covered employers to grant eligible employees time off from work in connection with the birth or adoption of a child or the serious illness of a parent, child or spouse. The NJFLA’s definition of “parent” includes a parent-in-law or step parent. The NJFLA provides for up to twelve weeks of leave in a 24-month period. The 24-month period begins on the first day of the employee’s NJFLA leave.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers with 15 or more employees to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion or national origin. The law applies to federal, state and local employers. Employers may not use the above conditions as a basis for refusing to hire an otherwise qualified applicant, for terminating employment of an individual, or to otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his/her compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It is also illegal to limit, segregate or classify employees or applicants in any way that would deprive or tend to deprive them of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect their status as employees. Certain exceptions are, however, permitted: 1) There may be a bona fide seniority or merit system in place, or earnings may be measured by quantity or quality of production. 2) The employer may make decisions based on the results of a professionally developed ability test not designed, intended or used to discriminate.
Title IX Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. Title IX covers all programs of a school or college that receives financial assistance including academics, extracurricular, and athletics.
Presidential Executive Order No 11246 (1965) prohibits discrimination by federal contractors against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Requires the employer to take affirmative action to expand employment opportunities for women and members of minority groups - defined as American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, Black, and Hispanic - and to eliminate practices which have the effect of excluding or limiting their employment. Also requires a written affirmative action plan, including goals for overcoming the under-utilization of minorities and women in the employer’s workforce.
The Rehabilitation Act (1973), Section 503 and Section 504 Prohibits discrimination against any employee or applicant for employment because of physical or mental disability regarding any position for which he or she is qualified. Requires the employer to take affirmative action to employ, promote, and otherwise treat qualified individuals with disabilities without discrimination based on their disability. Also requires a written affirmative action plan, but hiring goals need not be established. Affirmative action does require that an employer take steps to accommodate a qualified worker with a disability unless accommodation poses an undue hardship.
The Equal Pay Act (EPA) of 1963 requires that male and female workers receive equal pay for work requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions. Wage differentials are permitted, however, if they are based on factors other than sex, such as a seniority system, a merit system, or a system measuring earnings by quantity or quality of production.
The Vietnam Era Veteran’s Readjustment Act of 1974 requires that employers with federal contracts or subcontracts of $10,000 or more provide equal opportunity and affirmative action for Vietnam era veterans, special disabled veterans, and veterans who served on active duty during a war or in a campaign for which a campaign badge has been authorized. Employees who enlist in the United States Armed Forces or who are in the active reserves or National Guard are also afforded job protection under this Act. The law also covers any person discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability or who is entitled to compensation under the laws administered by the Veterans Administration. The Act has also been extended to cover harassment in the workplace on the basis of military status and failure to provide reasonable accommodation.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 extends protections guaranteed to certain classes of people by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to workers or applicants age 40 or older. Employers may not use the age of an individual as a basis for refusing to hire an otherwise qualified individual, or for discriminating against a person in compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment including discharge, promotion and treatment.
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 enhances and protects the rights of individuals with disabilities in all life activities and to provide clear, consistent, enforceable standards for addressing discrimination against individuals with disabilities.
The ADA ensures that qualified individuals with disabilities, including both applicants and current employees, have available to them the same employment opportunities as people without disabilities. It includes, but is not limited to: hiring, promotion and transfers, discharge, all forms of compensation, job training, fringe benefits, job descriptions/classification, all leaves of absence, and other aspects of employment.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave each year for the following specified family and medical reasons: birth of a child, placement of child for adoption or foster care, care of an immediate family member with a serious health condition, employee is unable to work because of their own serious health condition. FMLA also allows intermittent and reduced leave for employees.
To be eligible for a family or medical leave, an employee must: have worked for the employer for a total of at least 12 months (need not be consecutive), have worked at least 1250 hours in the 12 months immediately (need not be consecutive) preceding commencement of leave, work at a work site having 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius.
The law provides that the employer must maintain the employee's coverage under any group health plan, and except for accrued or earned benefits (such as seniority), the employee must be restored to the same benefits upon return from leave as if the employee had continued to work. Employees on family or medical leave cannot collect unemployment or other government compensation.
The employee must be restored to the same position held before the leave or an equivalent position upon return from a family or medical leave (unless employee is in top 10% paid).
Employers have the right to deny leave when an employee fails to give proper notice of a foreseeable leave. The employer can deny leave until 30 days after notice is provided if the employee fails to provide timely medical certification.
Employers also have the right to deny reinstatement: until employees provide a requested fitness-for-duty medical certification, when employees notify employer that they do not intend to return to work, when leave was obtained fraudulently, if the salaried employee is in the highest 10% of the employer's workforce, and where restoration to employment would create "substantial and grievous injury" to the business operation.
The Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-339) allows preference eligibles or veterans who are honorably discharged from the armed forces after 3 or more years of active service to compete for vacant positions, if the hiring agency is accepting applications from individuals outside its own workforce under merit promotion procedures. All merit promotion announcements open to applicants outside the hiring agency's workforce are required to indicate that these veterans and preference eligibles may apply.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment. The law also protects employees from retaliation because the individual complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate with respect to hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee, based upon an individual's citizenship or immigration status. The law prohibits employers from hiring only U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents unless required to do so by law, regulation or government contract. Employers may not refuse to accept lawful documentation that establishes the employment eligibility of an employee, or demand additional documentation beyond what is legally required, when verifying employment eligibility (i.e. completing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Form I-9), based on the employee's national origin or citizenship status. IRCA also prohibits retaliation against individuals for asserting their rights under the Act, or for filing a charge or assisting in an investigation or proceeding under IRCA.
Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2008 protects employees from discrimination based on their genetic information. Genetic information includes information about an individual's genetic tests and the genetic tests of an individual's family members, as well as information about any disease, disorder or condition of an individual's family members (i.e. an individual's family medical history). GINA prohibits employers from using individuals’ genetic information when making employment decisions. Employers also may not limit, segregate, classify or otherwise mistreat an employee based on their genetic test results or family health history. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against an employee because the individual complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.