Understanding NJ Disability Discrimination

By Thomas McKinney

Lawyers and NJ Disability Discrimination Rights

Disability discrimination law in New Jersey is complicated and violations are common.  The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination protects employees with permanent or temporary disabilities from being fired or forced to work in pain due to a disability.  Given the complexity of disability discrimination law, it is important to consult a lawyer to protect your rights.

In New Jersey, an employer cannot fire an employee who is disabled and it cannot refuse to reasonably accommodate an employee’s disability.  Under NJ disability discrimination law, disability is defined much more broadly than federal law and includes severe disabilities such as paralysis and strokes as well as less severe or temporary disabilities such as pneumonia, depression, or vertigo.

Obviously, it is illegal to fire an employee for having a disability.  But NJ law also considers it disability discrimination when an employer refuses the reasonable request of an employee to accommodate a disability.  This form of disability discrimination is called failure to accommodate.  Common accommodation requests include a leave of absence, adaptive equipment such as ergonomic keyboards or chairs, time to attend doctor’s appointments, or a modified work schedule, among other types of accommodations.

But under disability discrimination law, an employee cannot simply demand disability accommodations.  The accommodations sought must be reasonable and supported by medical documentation.  If an employer believes that a disabled employee’s request for accommodation is unreasonable or unduly burdensome, then the employer and the employee must engage in a dialogue to discuss what balance can be struck between the employee’s rights and the employer’s business needs.  Disability discrimination law calls this the “interactive process.”  When both sides bring good faith to this process, an accommodation that meets everyone’s needs usually can be found.

Given the complexity of disability discrimination claims, a lawyer focused on employment law can assist you in protecting your rights or analyzing your claim.

Contact the employment lawyers at Castronovo & McKinney to discuss your employee rights.

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.