Disability Discrimination in New Jersey

What is Disability Discrimination?

It’s typically against the law for you to be harassed or discriminated against on the basis of a disability you have, a disability someone thinks you have, a disability you used to have, a disability someone thinks you used to have, or a disability that someone knows/thinks you will get in the future. The New Jersey Law of Discrimination, or LAD, protects those with disabilities, those who used to have a disability, and those who are treated as if they have a disability. What does the term disability describe? The term disability under New Jersey law includes physical disability, infirmity, malformation, or disfigurement, physical illness or disease, and mental, psychological, or developmental disability that results from conditions that prevent the normal exercise of any bodily or mental function or which can be shown to exist through accepted clinical or laboratory diagnostic tests.

When is Disability Discrimination Against the Law?

Disability discrimination can be against the law in many different ways. First, it is against the law in most types of employment. A person with a disability can’t be denied employment unless the disability prevents him or her from essential job duties or could seriously injure him or her. It is also against the law when you try to get most types of goods or services, when you try to rent or buy housing/ get hotel accommodations, when you apply to or are studying in most schools or colleges, when you try to join an organization that is open to the general public, and when you try to get services or goods, or to enjoy facilities offered to the general public. There are many rights when it comes to each of these that you should read through to understand if you’re being discriminated against.

What are my Rights?

You have many different rights including work rights, rights regarding goods and services, public accommodation rights, housing rights, and rights to education. Your work rights include being fairly considered for jobs based on merit, getting all work benefits as other employees, not being terminated based on your disability, and not being harassed about your disability. If you feel that you’re not getting trained or promoted based on your disability, that is also a work rights violation. Also, employers must provide you with any extra help or facilities you need as long as this won’t cause them undue hardship. Your rights regarding goods and services include getting goods and services in the same way as people without disabilities, not being refused service because of your disability, being given a choice of identification you can provide, not being turned away because someone thinks you might offend customers, and getting most goods and services on the same terms as others. Public accommodation rights include having the right to enjoy facilities in the same way as people without disabilities and getting benefits/services on the same basis as people who don’t have a disability. Your rights to education include being able to generally apply for and get education, training, or testing at any establishment that takes applications from or serves the general public, in the same way as people without disabilities. Lastly, your housing rights state that it is unlawful to discriminate against people with disabilities in the rental and purchase of land and housing.  

What Can I Do If I’m Treated Differently Because of My Disability?

If you’ve read through this blog and think that what happened to you is against the law, you should first try talking to the person or organization discriminating against you and explain to them that you think it’s against the law. If this has happened in the past 180 days and you don’t feel that it’s appropriate to do so or you tried and it didn’t work, it might be time to get lawyers involved. David Kaplan specializes in discrimination law. Call him today at 973-426-0021 if you feel that you’re being discriminated against. We also have a fact sheet that you can read through if you are unsure you’re being discriminated against. Reach out to us and we can get you a copy. Remember, just because we’re in the 21st century doesn’t mean discrimination is a thing of the past.