New Jersey Division on Civil Rights
The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (NJ DCR) provides protection against discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and credit/contracting based on race, national origin, age, marital status, pregnancy, religion, sex, gender identification, disability, or military service. NJ DCR is also responsible for enforcing the NJ Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) and the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA).
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD)
The federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides federal protection against discrimination for a wide array of issues, but the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination provides even further protection to New Jersey residents. For example, under the NJLAD, it is unlawful for anyone to be refused an interview, employment, promotion, or be demoted or terminated due to their gender identification or sexual preference. Federal laws do not yet make this specification.
The NJLAD also mandates that areas of public accommodation, such as retail stores, schools, libraries, and recreational facilities, must provide reasonable accommodations for access by disabled individuals. A reasonable accommodation can include the assistance of auxiliary aides, wheelchair access ramps, sidewalk inclines, and elevators that allow access to public buildings.
It is also against the law in New Jersey to refuse to rent, show, or sell a property to an individual based on their sex, race, religion, national origin, disability, domestic partnership, civil union status, or marital status. The law mandates that real estate agents, brokers, and rental agents as well as their employees cannot discriminate against anyone for things such as single parenting, mental or physical disabilities, service animals, or those who receive federal or state housing assistance.
New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA)
The New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) mandates that employers must allow eligible employees the opportunity to take leave from their job to tend to family issues specified in the NJFLA. Eligible employees are those who work for an employer with 50 or more employees, have been on the job for at least 12 months, and have worked a minimum of 1,000 hours in that 12-month period.
Eligible employees may take time off from work for the birth or adoption of a child, or to help a parent, step-parent, in-law parent, child, or spouse with a serious illness. NJFLA provides 12 weeks of leave during a 24-month period.
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows time off for an employee to attend to their own disability or health issue. This means that an employee that takes time off for their personal disability under the FMLA can also take additional time off for the birth of a child under the NJFLA. FMLA allows for 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Employees who believe that their civil rights have been violated in the workplace can file a claim with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This governmental agency enforces the federal laws against discrimination in the workplace. Employees who have been unsuccessful in their attempts to remedy the situation with their employer or Human Resource departments can file a claim with the EEOC.