The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) may extend to particular groups of out of state employees, specifically telecommuters.
NJLAD May Apply to Out-of-State Telecommuters
The New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division held that the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) may apply to employees who telecommute to work for a New Jersey employer. In Trevejo v. Legal Cost Control, the court found that NJLAD protects “persons” from unlawful employment practices in the workplace. Significantly, the court held that the term “persons” is not limited to inhabitants or residents of New Jersey. The NJLAD may apply to employees who telecommute from a different state to work for a New Jersey employer. The court held that if the non-resident telecommuter shows that he or she has been effectively working in New Jersey, he or she may be protected under New Jersey law.
In Trevejo, the plaintiff-employee worked out of her home state, Massachusetts. However, the defendant-employer’s corporation is in Haddonfield, New Jersey. The plaintiff lives in Massachusetts and pays property taxes in her home state. In fact, she had only visited her employer’s office in New Jersey on a few occasions.
Following the plaintiff’s termination, she filed an age discrimination claim under the NJLAD. The trial court granted a summary judgment in favor of the defendant, agreeing that the plaintiff was not an “inhabitant” of New Jersey and therefore was not covered under New Jersey law. However, the Appellate Division held that the NJLAD explicitly uses the term “person” when defining discrimination protections. The Appellate Division found that “person” is not synonymous with “inhabitant.” Additionally, the court held that limiting NJLAD to just New Jersey residents would conflict with the law’s “strong interest in a discrimination-free workplace.”
Ultimately, the case was remanded for further discovery to assess factors related to the plaintiff’s contacts in New Jersey. To determine this, discovery will focus on the work location of plaintiff’s fellow employees and whether other employees worked from home. Other factors considered include the location of the company’s computer servers and the Internet service provider. If an employee shows sufficient contacts in the company’s state, this may show that the employee had a “virtual” presence in New Jersey. Thus, this would possibly allow for these out-of-state employees to be covered by the NJLAD.
Whether or not you are a resident of New Jersey, you may be protected under the NJLAD if you effectively or remotely work in New Jersey.
Marlton Employment Discrimination Lawyers at McOmber & McOmber, P.C. Protect Employees from Discrimination in the Workplace
If you have experienced age discrimination, a Marlton employment discrimination lawyer at McOmber & McOmber is ready to help you. We are experienced in all facets of New Jersey employment law and will tirelessly work for you. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, our Red Bank office 732-842-6500, or contact us online.