Employers have an affirmative obligation under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination to make reasonable accommodations to disabled individuals to allow them to perform their jobs.
The term disability is very broad under New Jersey law and include physical disabilities caused by bodily injury, mental/psychological disabilities, and pregnancy. Examples include individuals suffering from back injuries, obesity, heart attacks, depression, and cancer.
An employer’s duty to provide a reasonable accommodation is triggered when an employee requests assistance to perform their job duties as a result of their disability. The employee does not need to make the request in writing or say any magical words. The employee only has to make it clear that he or she needs assistance. Once the request is made, an employer is required to engage in the “interactive process” which means the employer must work with the employee to find an accommodation that allows the employee to perform their job duties without putting undue financial strain or hardship on the employer.
Examples of workplace accommodations include making the workplace accessible, job restructuring (such as part-time work, modified work schedule, or flexible time off), medical leaves of absence, and “light duty” status.
It is unlawful for an employer to terminate an employee who requests an accommodation. Additionally, it is unlawful for an employer to ignore the accommodation request. If you believe your employer has discriminated against you because of your disability, or has failed to make a reasonable effort to accommodate your request, please call us immediately at 609-348-1300 for a free consultation.