The state of New Jersey takes discrimination seriously and strictly prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, citizenship, or marital status.
While sexual orientation discrimination laws are still being written in many parts of the country, it is illegal to discriminate against a person because of their sexuality in New Jersey. This means that it is against the law for you to be treated differently or otherwise denied the same rights extended to others based upon your sexual orientation.
The law is equally applicable to men, women, and transgender individuals. Sexual orientations specifically include:
- Heterosexuality: Attraction to people of the opposite gender
- Homosexuality: Attraction to people of the same gender
- Bisexuality: Attraction to people of both genders
- Transgender: Wherein a person’s gender identity and/or expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth, and
- Gender identity or expression: A personal sense of one’s own identity
New Jersey is considered one of the most progressive states, with comprehensive legislation protecting the rights of the LGBTQ community. Same-sex couples enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual couples, including spousal and adoption rights. Individuals also have the right to declare their gender identity as they see fit, regardless of their physical traits.
The Atlantic County Employment Lawyers at Levine Staller want all individuals to understand their rights. If you believe you have been the victim of sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination, please contact us for a free consultation.
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) protects individuals from discrimination in four areas of activity:
- Public Accommodations
- Credit and Business Contracts
Since it was first enacted in 1945, the law has been continually updated as the need has arisen. While not every protected class is covered for every situation, discrimination based on marital status, for example, is only prohibited in respect to housing, while sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination are unlawful in all four areas of activity.
All companies in New Jersey with one or more employees are required to abide by NJLAD. Companies may have their own non-discrimination policies in place, but they must at least meet the protections guaranteed under the law.
Under NJLAD, a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity cannot be used to influence decisions related to hiring, firing, promotion, or compensation. This means that employers cannot deny someone an opportunity for employment or advancement because of their sexuality, gender identity, or expression.
Harassment by employers or coworkers because of one’s LGBTQ status is also prohibited; this can include insulting or sexual comments, as well as baseless write-ups or disciplinary actions.
Employment Discrimination Lawsuits
If a person has suffered from workplace harassment or unlawful employment discrimination, they can take legal action against their employer.
Employers who violate NJLAD may have to pay damages to victims of discrimination. The amount may vary, depending on the circumstances of the violation, but may include compensation for:
- Lost wages: Back wages or benefits lost, due to unlawful termination or demotion; may also include future wages lost if the employee cannot find other opportunities
- Out-of-pocket expenses: Any expenses incurred because of the discrimination, including those related to finding another job
- Emotional distress: Damages related to mental and emotional pain and suffering
- Punitive damages: Awarded in especially egregious cases to punish employers for violating discrimination law
- Legal fees associated with the lawsuit
Despite New Jersey’s stringent laws, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals still face instances of discrimination in the workplace. Even those who are only perceived to have a certain sexuality may be victims of discrimination or harassment.
If you have been the victim of sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination in New Jersey, having an experienced employment discrimination lawyer by your side can help you understand your legal options and get the compensation you deserve.
Atlantic County Employment Discrimination Lawyers at Levine, Staller, Sklar, Chan & Brown, P.A. Obtain Compensation for Victims of LGBTQ Discrimination
The Atlantic County employment discrimination lawyers at Levine, Staller, Sklar, Chan & Brown, P.A. provide comprehensive representation to employees in all types of discrimination cases, including those involving LGBTQ individuals. Our lawyers understand the complexities of New Jersey anti-discrimination laws and are committed to protecting your rights. Call us today at 609-348-1300 or contact us online for a free consultation. With offices conveniently located in Atlantic City, we help victims of LGBTQ discrimination throughout the communities of Atlantic County, Ocean County, and Cape May County.