The New Jersey Supreme Court recently clarified the protections provided to pregnant and breastfeeding employees under a 2013 amendment to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”). In Delanoy v. Twp. of Ocean, the Court explained that the 2013 provisions provide three
separate causes of action for pregnant and breastfeeding employees based on: 1) unequal or unfavorable treatment; 2) failure to provide reasonable accommodations; and 3) being penalized for having requested accommodations.

According to the Court, the LAD provides a claim for unequal or unfavorable treatment compared to non-pregnant or breastfeeding employees who are similar in their ability/inability to work. In other words, an employer may not have one set of rules or standards for disabled or injured employees and another set for pregnant or breastfeeding employees.

An employer also is required to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant and breastfeeding employees. The Court took an expansive view by concluding that pregnant and breastfeeding employees who are unable to perform an essential function of the job may nevertheless be entitled to a reasonable accommodation. Such a reasonable accommodation may include temporarily permitting a pregnant or breastfeeding employee to transfer to work that does not include an essential function of
the job.

Finally, the LAD prohibits penalizing a pregnant or breastfeeding employee for having requested an accommodation. This includes an employer imposing conditions on accommodations that are particularly “harsh.”

If you believe that your employer has discriminated against you or failed to accommodate you based on your pregnancy or breastfeeding, please contact the Law Offices of Damian Christian Shammas, LLC for a free consultation.