What Does the Law Say?


Where is the law regarding sex discrimination in employment in New Jersey found?

The New Jersey law protecting employees from work place sex discrimination is the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), and it prohibits employers from discriminating in any of the benefits of employment on the basis of sex.

To whom does the New Jersey state law apply?

The LAD covers employers and employees with the exception of domestic servants.

Under the New Jersey law what is illegal?

Under LAD it is illegal for an employer to use someone's status as a member of a protected class (i.e. woman) as a consideration when an employer hires an employee, fires an employee, or provides an employee with job-related benefits.

What is sex discrimination?

Any practice or policy that treats women differently constitutes sex discrimination. Such acts can either be overtly degrading to women (such as sexual harassment) or simply differentially treats women.

What constitutes sex discrimination under New Jersey Law?

Sex discrimination in New Jersey is discrimination in the workplace based upon the gender, sexual preferences, or policies/practices that makes the working environment hostile and/or results in discriminatory treatment of an individual despite their qualifications.

What is an "employee" under this law?

An employee is a person with whom an employer has an employment relationship. The existence of an employment relationship is most easily shown through payroll records. The term "employee" excludes individuals who work as domestic servants (i.e. household help).

What is an "employer" under this law?

An employer can be any individual, partnership, or organization, including the State and public agencies, with the exception of persons with domestic servants.

Are women a "protected class"?

Yes, women fall under the protection of the federal, state and local anti-discrimination law. The LAD, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, protects women as a class.

Is there a federal law about sex discrimination?

Yes, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on sex. It was amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, which guarantees equal benefits to pregnant women. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 guarantees equal pay for equal work.

How does the state law compare with federal in terms of coverage?

Both the LAD and the federal anti-discrimination laws protect employees in New Jersey. New Jersey courts have traditionally looked to federal law for guidance. The two laws are very similar in the amount of protection they provide women. The main difference is that state law applies to all employers except domestic employers, while federal law applies to all employers with more then fifteen (15) employees.

Is it ever okay for my employer to treat or impact women differently because of their sex?

When sex is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) or a legitimate job qualification, differential treatment by an employer is permitted under the LAD. The employer must prove no woman can adequately perform the job in question. In order for the differential treatment to be permitted, the employer must show that it is not just a matter of convenience, but a necessity for their business.

In a nutshell, what must I prove to win my case?

Each type of claim has slightly different elements, but as a general guide, you must prove to the court or the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights ("Division") that you were treated as you were because of your sex, and that you would not have been so treated if you were not a woman. If you have been harassed, but the harassment is not explicitly sexual in nature, you must still prove that it occurred because you are a woman.

What could my employer do to deny my allegations, and how do I respond to their denials?

Once you have established the necessary elements of your specific claim of discrimination, the employer has an opportunity to offer legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for its adverse employment action. Depending on the type of claim, they may be able to show changing economic circumstances, the quality of your work performance, or another employee with superior qualifications. You can then respond, and prove that the reasons put forward by the employer are just an excuse, and not the actual reasons for their actions.

Does it matter when the discrimination occurred?

There are two ways to file a claim for discrimination in New Jersey. If you wish to file a complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, you must file within one-hundred and eighty (180) days of the alleged discrimination. However, in order to find a pattern of discrimination, the Division will look at incidents within the past three-hundred (300) days. If you wish to bypass the Division, and file directly with the court, you can file up to two years after the most recent incident. As with the Division, courts look at incidents within the past three-hundred (300) days when searching for a pattern of discrimination.

Who enforces the law?

In New Jersey, you may either file a lawsuit in court, or work with the Division. The Division will investigate your claim, and if they find that you have been treated illegally, will create a remedy for you.

How do I file a claim of sex discrimination with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights?

To file a complaint with the Division, you must file within one-hundred and eighty (180) days of the most recent act of discrimination. The Division has offices located throughout the state, you should contact the office closest to you. For more information on how to file a claim, please click here.

If I prove my sex discrimination claim, what kind of remedies am I entitled to?

If you file with the Division, you can receive money compensating you for your losses or a court order giving you your job back, as well as attorney fees. The Division may also fine the employer. If you file with the courts, you may receive money compensating you for your loss or a court order giving you your job back, and you may also receive additional payment from your employer to deter them from committing illegal acts in the future. For more information on the remedies you may receive, please click here.


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