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What Does Illegal Disability Discrimination in the Workplace Look Like According to New Jersey Law?

Legal News GavelThe law in New Jersey gives people with disabilities certain rights and protections. One area in which these rights and protections apply is in the area of employment. As a New Jersey worker or candidate for employment, you have the right to be judged on your individual merits, rather than based upon your disabilities. If you believe that your employer (or potential employer) has taken an adverse employment action against you because of your disability, you may be entitled to sue and to receive compensation. Your skilled New Jersey disability discrimination attorney can advise you regarding the legal consequences of your employer’s actions and the options available to you.

One thing that is worth keeping in mind is that not all disability discrimination laws are created equal. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination offers a very strong and wide-ranging protection for workers with disabilities, including defining “disability” considerably more broadly than the federal law does. In this state, a physical “disability, infirmity, malformation, or disfigurement” qualifies. So does a mental, psychological, or developmental issue if it prevents the “normal exercise of any bodily or mental function or…can be shown to exist though accepted clinical or laboratory tests.”

Furthermore, you do not even have to have a disability at all, even under the broad definition established by New Jersey law, to be entitled to pursue a case of disability discrimination in this state. New Jersey law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or prospective workers if that discrimination happened because the employer mistakenly thought you were disabled (even if you weren’t). You can also bring a disability action if the discrimination was a result of a disability you had in the past, or might have in the future (or that the employer thinks you had in the past / might have in the future – even if that belief is wrong).

Many people reasonably view undergoing medical examinations, especially those that were not their idea, as invasive and burdensome. This can be especially true for people with disabilities. New Jersey law limits the circumstances in which employers can demand that a job candidate submit to a physical examination as part of the employment application process. First, the employer can only make a demand of a medical examination after it has extended to the job candidate a bona fide offer of employment. (It cannot demand medical exams of everyone who applies for a job.) Second, the law says that the employer can only make a medical examination a mandatory part of your hiring process if it requires all people (both those with disabilities and those without disabilities) hired into your position to undergo medical exams.

The most basic notions of fairness demand that people be judged, including at work, based upon the merits of their performance, instead of on their disabilities (or lack thereof). If you have been subjected to discrimination – whether in hiring, on the job, or in the layoff/firing process – because of your disability, you should assess your legal options. The experienced New Jersey disability discrimination attorneys at Phillips & Associates have been working diligently to provide New Jersey workers who have disabilities, or who were perceived to be disabled by their employers, with knowledgeable legal solutions and strategies to give them the recovery they need. Contact us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation and to find out how we can help you.

More blog posts:

Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar Treatment Side Effects, and Disability Discrimination Law in New Jersey, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, Feb. 2, 2018

New Jersey Auto Dealership Employee Wins Important Battle in Disability Discrimination Case Against the Employer Who Fired Him, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, Nov. 8, 2017

Without Proof that a Nurse Was a Danger to Herself or Others, New Jersey Hospital Couldn’t Fire Her Due to a Perceived Disability, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, July 27, 2017

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