New Jersey Disability Discrimination Attorneys

New Jersey Disability Discrimination Attorneys

McLaughlin & Nardi’s attorneys represent employees who have been discriminated against or harassed because of a disability, or whose employer has failed to reasonably accommodate their disability.  Our employment lawyers have decades of experience successfully fighting for the rights of employees who have been the victims of discrimination.

Employers Cannot Discriminate Because of Disabilities

Both federal and New Jersey anti-discrimination law protect employees who are “disabled.”  This breaks down into three broad protections.  First, the employer may not take an adverse action against an employee because of her disability, provided she can perform the essential functions of her job with “reasonable accommodation.”  For example, an employer may not fire or demote an employee because of her disability. Second, employers may not harass employees because of their disabilities.  Third, employers cannot refuse to grant reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.

It would be great to believe that in this day and age, employers would not discriminate against their employees because of a disability – and, indeed many enlightened employers do not discriminate.  However, many definitely continue to discriminate.  We have repeatedly seen workers fired and harassed because they have a disability.  We are committed to fighting for the rights of victims of disability discrimination.

What is a Disability Under New Jersey Law?

New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination defines disability very broadly.  It protects any “disability.”  It includes both mental and physical disabilities, illnesses, diseases, and disability related to pregnancy, and is so broad that it can even cover addiction. Thus, New Jersey’s courts have extended protection to disabilities as diverse as varicose veins and alcoholism.  Depression and anxiety are also protected disabilities.  New Jersey anti-discrimination law is so broad that it covers most disabilities, even those which are minor.

Indeed, it even protects employees without disabilities if their employer believes or suspects that they have a disability.  In other words, your employer cannot take action against you because it thinks you might have some sort of disability.

Employers Cannot Harass Employees With Disabilities, or Allow Harassment 

Just as in gender, race and religion, New Jersey law provides that employers and coworkers cannot harass or create a hostile work environment for an employee because of her disability.  This is also a prohibited form of discrimination.  For example, employees have a right to be free from jokes or teasing about disabilities.  Employers cannot make it more difficult to do your job.  They cannot try to force you out.  Our employment lawyers are committed to fighting to end the cancer of harassment.

Employers Must Accommodate Disabilities

New Jersey law mandates that employers have a duty to reasonably accommodate their employees’ disabilities.  Employees have the legal right to reasonable accommodation.

Employers cannot fire an employee or take any other adverse action against her because of her disability if she can perform the essential functions of her job with reasonable accommodation.  This means the employer has the duty to reasonably accommodate an employee’s disability.  Not every accommodation may be made, but only reasonable ones – for instance, an employer is not required to make an accommodation which will cost so much it will go out of business. However, if there is a reasonable consideration, the employer must provide it.

Once your employer knows of your disability and you request accommodation, it becomes the employer’s obligation to diligently explore providing it to you.  The request need not say “reasonable accommodation,” but it must give your employer notice that you need some help to be able to do your job with your physical or mental condition.  The employer may not have to give you exactly what you asked for, but it must explore giving you some accommodation, and if a “reasonable” one exists, the employer is required to give it to you.

There is a multitude of examples of reasonable accommodations. Some include flexible time off, leave or vacation time in excess of FMLA time off, obtaining equipment, devices or tools which make work with the disability possible, reassigning positions. 

Contact Us

Our New Jersey employment attorneys have been fighting for employees’ rights for many years.  If you believe that you have been the victim of disability discrimination, your employer or coworkers have harassed you, or you have been denied reasonable accommodation to do your job, call us at (973) 890-0004.  We can help.

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