Attorneys Robert W. Smith and Christopher J. Eibeler

Law Against Discrimination

Law Against Discrimination New Jersey Law Against Discrimination Attorneys

Are you being sexually harassed at the workplace? Do you believe you have been unlawfully terminated from your employment as a result of unlawful retaliation? Have you been denied a promotion or pay raise because of your race, gender or other protected class? If so, you may have a claim under the New Jersey anti-discrimination law known as the Law Against Discrimination.

The Law Against Discrimination

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination provides individuals with some of the strongest legal protections against discrimination of any state law in the country. The purpose of the law is to protect society from the vestiges of discrimination by ensuring that the civil rights guaranteed under the New Jersey Constitution are extended to our citizens. First enacted in 1945, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination was the first anti-discrimination statute in the country. Since its enactment, the law has since been amended many different times to provide greater rights to individuals at the workplace and in places of public accommodation. In applying the law to cases of sexual harassment, hostile work environment, retaliation and other discrimination cases, the New Jersey Supreme Court has repeatedly reminded us the overriding goal of the law is nothing less than the total eradication of the cancer of discrimination.

Discrimination at the Workplace

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination protects employees of New Jersey from being discriminated at the workplace. There are different forms of workplace discrimination and therefore ways an employee can maintain a claim under the law. A disparate impact claim arises when an employee is deprived the privilege, term or condition of employment because of a protected characteristic such as age, ancestry, military service, color, creed, disability, marital status, domestic partnership status, national origin, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. In these cases, our employment lawyers seek to prove that the employee was negatively impacted at his or her place of employment for discriminatory reasons, and not because of a lawful reason such as job performance or a good faith job elimination.

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination also provides for strong protections for employees who complain about discriminating or participate in harassment investigations. The anti-retaliation provision under the law makes it unlawful for employers to take adverse employment action against an employee for engaging in protected activity. There are several ways an employee can engage in protected activity to ensure the anti-retaliation protections of the law. For example, an employee who makes a reasonable and good faith complaint of discrimination will be viewed as engaging in protected activity. An employee who participates in a harassment investigation is also engaging in protected activity and cannot be retaliated against for their participation. An adverse employment action is not limited to termination, but can include actions short of termination such as discipline, demotion and undesirable job assignments.

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination also prohibits employers for creating or allowing the existence of a hostile work environment for any or all its employees. A hostile work environment occurs when an employee can show that the harassment would not have occurred but for the employee’s protected class (such as gender, disability, etc.) and it was severe and pervasive enough to make a reasonable person of the same protected class believe that the conditions of employment have been altered and the work environment is hostile or abusive. An employer can be held vicariously liable if they contribute to the harm through its negligence, intent or apparent authorization of the harassing conduct or if the supervisor was aided in the commission of the harassment by the agency relationship. The law requires New Jersey employers to have effective anti-discrimination laws that require them to conduct a complete and thorough investigation into a complaint of discrimination and take prompt and remedial action when discrimination occurs.

In 2018, the New Jersey Legislature again amended the law, by enacting the New Jersey Equal Pay Act. The New Jersey Equal Pay Act makes it unlawful for an employer to pay an employee of a protected class less than another employee who is not in the protected class and who performs the same or similar work. The New Jersey Equal Pay Act also contains a broad anti-retaliation provision that protects employees who complain of unequal pay, disclose compensation to others or seek legal advice concerning potential unequal pay issues. The penalties for employers who engage in wage discrimination under the act are steep. They can include treble damages and reasonable attorney fees.

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination not only protects employees who work in New Jersey but also individuals who are seeking employment in New Jersey. It also provides protects to persons who are retaliated against for engaging in protected activity under the statute or have an association with someone who suffers from discrimination. All employer, labor organizations and employment agencies are subject to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Additionally, any person who aids and abets a violation of the law will be found liable.

Discrimination with Places of Public Accommodation

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination extends to individuals outside the employment in places of public accommodation. Specifically, the law provides that all persons have the opportunity to obtain all the accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any place of accommodation without discrimination based upon his or her race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, affectional or sexual orientation, familial status, disability, nationality, sex or source of lawful income used for rental or mortgage payments. The statute provides a non-exhaustive list of places of public accommodations, which include places such as retail stores, schools, colleges and universities and a host of others. Courts have made clear that the statutory definition of a place of public accommodation is extremely broad and include places in which a person would expect to be a place where the public is invited.

New Jersey Discrimination Lawyers

If you believe you are a victim of discrimination, harassment or retaliation at the workplace or a place of public accommodation, it is strongly encouraged you contact an experienced New Jersey employment lawyer who can assess your potential claim. Our New Jersey employment attorneys have successfully litigated many forms of discrimination prohibited under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination including the following:

If you believe that you are a victim of discrimination, feel free to call our office to speak with one of our New Jersey discrimination lawyers to discuss the particular facts of your workplace situation. We are conveniently located in Holmdel, Monmouth County, and right off Exit 114 of the Garden State Parkway.

DISCLAIMER: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.
Client Reviews
★★★★★
We had a wrongful termination issue combined with a denial of unemployment insurance. Chris Eibeler was our primary attorney. His partner Bob Smith also consulted and gave us good advice. They were both so kind, caring, and professional. They guided us though a very tough time and a positive outcome versus a prior employer. They were also able to reverse our denial of unemployment insurance. I cannot recommend Smith and Eibeler highly enough. The entire staff is very professional, personable, and caring. Tom Wilson
★★★★★
I went to Smith Eibeler LLC for a last minute unemployment matter. Chris, Diane and his staff were very professional and easy to talk to. They provided knowledgeable insight and also kept me in the loop with the what was happening. I would not hesitate to go to him again. John Jung
★★★★★
Chris Eibeler (and the whole team) is very knowledgeable in all aspects of employment/unemployment here in NJ. They break down the most difficult aspects of the law, which allows you to conceptualize and better understand the complexities of the NJ Labor & Employment system. Smith Eibeler should be your first call regarding any Employment, workforce, or Labor questions here in New Jersey. I highly recommend them. Brian Allen
★★★★★
I approached Chris Eibeler regarding an unemployment case in early 2016. Him and his staff are some of the most professional people I have ever dealt with. The process took a while, but his approach to hard questioning helped me win my case. He knows how to get the job done and I am glad I went to him. I would recommend him to anyone in the future who asks for a lawyer. Thank you Chris! Tim F.
★★★★★
I highly recommend the office of Smith Eibeler for employment related issues, particularly anything related to restrictive covenants or post-employment contracts. I found Smith Eibeler via the web and cannot believe how fortunate I am to have found them. My case was handled by Bob Smith who represented me in a potential lawsuit by my former employer for violation of a post-employment contract (not a restrictive covenant per se). Bob was professional, friendly, understanding, and above all extremely helpful. Bob helped me avoid a lawsuit and was extremely knowledgeable in this field. I was thoroughly impressed with his prowess. Hopefully I will never have a legal issue related to employment again, but if I do, I will not hesitate to retain Smith Eibeler again! Gavin Tully