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Categories protected from job-related discrimination

According to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, employers are prohibited from discriminating against individuals on the basis of several different protected categories. Some of the protected categories include national origin, race, color, ancestry and nationality. An employer is also barred from discriminating during job-related actions on the basis of characteristics like civil union status, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation and gender expression.

Further, the New Jersey law protects people with mental or physical disabilities including illnesses from being subject to discrimination in the workplace. An employer is also prohibited from denying employment or promotion to a person because they are pregnant. People with certain hereditary cellular or blood traits are similarly protected from discrimination in the workplace.

An employer may be found liable for workplace discrimination during any job-related function including recruitment, hiring, promotions and layoffs. Although the majority of workplace discrimination will be found unlawful, there are some cases where a legitimate business need may require discrimination against one of the protected categories. In order to be legal, the employer would need to show proof that the policy that was set up was necessary for the functioning of the business and changing to an alternative non-discriminatory practice was not possible.

After experiencing sexual harassment or other type of workplace discrimination, a victim may want to contact an attorney as soon as possible. As time goes on, the employer may have time to disguise evidence of the action and invalidate any impending lawsuits. An attorney may be able to help a victim to gather all of the appropriate evidence while they can and file a discrimination lawsuit well within the statute of limitations.

Source: Office of the Attorney General, "Employment Discrimination", October 03, 2014

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