On January 28, 2008, a bill (A1898) was introduced in response to the New Jersey Appellate Court decision in Cutler v. Dorn (App. Div. 2007), which held that several sporadic Anti-Semitic comments and pranks made to a police officer were not unlawful under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”). The bill would add new definitions of “hostile environment” and “abusive conduct” to the LAD, such that repeated abusive verbal conduct (derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets; verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating; or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance) like that which took place under Cutler v. Dorn would now be unlawful.
On February 26, 2008, a bill (A2292) was introduced that would amend the LAD in several important aspects. For instance, it would make mandatory arbitration provisions unlawful in New Jersey. Second, it would add “familial status” as a new protected category. Third, it would add independent contractors to the list of protected individuals under the LAD. Fourth, it would require employers to reasonably accommodate employees’ pregnancy-related conditions. The proposed bill also would prohibit English-only rules in the workplace under certain circumstances.
On March 3, 2008, a bill (S1407) was introduced that would amend the LAD to allow failure to accommodate claims under the LAD to be adjudicated before the Division of Workers’ Compensation as an alternative to either the Division on Civil Rights or Superior Court.
Note: This article was published in the April 1, 2008 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.