A headline-making new federal court ruling regarding discrimination and the rights of transgender people in the workplace may not immediately affect workers in New Jersey, but it could play a role in the not-too-distant future. The ruling, which allowed a trans woman to pursue a disability discrimination case under the Americans with Disabilities Act, is not binding in New Jersey federal cases right now, but it could become so if the Third Circuit of Appeals reaches the issue and adopts the lower court’s conclusion.
A recent case from Paramus, reported by northjersey.com, provides some helpful insight on how an employee may still be entitled to pursue her rights even in what might appear to be challenging conditions. A guidance counselor and basketball coach sued her former employer for sexual orientation discrimination. Even though the employer in this case was a Catholic school, the trial court and the Appellate Division both ruled that the religion exception did not automatically prevent this employee from pursuing her discrimination case.
The issue of discrimination against LGBT people is again making legal headlines as a federal appeals court in Atlanta recently ruled that Title VII does not include within it a protection for workers who suffer discrimination based upon their sexual orientation. A federal appeals court in Chicago reached a similar conclusion last year. Fortunately for LGBT people in New Jersey, this state’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD) provides clear and unmistakable prohibitions against workplace discrimination based upon a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.