NJ Enforces Discrimination Based On Perceived Characteristics

By Thomas McKinney

The NJ Appellate Division expanded the reach of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) in the matter of Cowher v. Carson & Roberts.  The NJLAD only contains express language preventing discrimination based on perceived sexual orientation.  In the Cowher case, the plaintiff was harassed because defendant perceived him to be Jewish and called him numerous anti-semitic slurs.  The Appellate Division expanded the scope of the NJLAD by ruling that “there is no reasoned basis to hold that the LAD protects those who are perceived to be members of one class of persons enumerated by the Act and does not protect those who are perceived to be members of a different class, as to which the LAD offers its protections in equal measure.”

About the Author
Tom McKinney is an experienced NJ Employment Lawyer in all major areas of labor and employment law, including discrimination, harassment, overtime violations, wage and hour claims, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, LAD, FLSA, and all other employment law claims. Tom is admitted to practice in the States of New Jersey and New York, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Southern District of New York, District of New Jersey, and United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Prior to forming the firm, Tom practiced at Gibbons P.C. in Newark, NJ. If you have any questions regarding this article, contact Tom here today.