The New Jersey Supreme Court recently decided its first case related to the New Jersey Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), a 2014 amendment to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). The PWFA amended existing portions of the NJLAD to specifically include “pregnancy or breastfeeding” as a protected classification entitled to the act’s prohibitions and protections. The PWFA also added a new section that explained an employer’s obligations and created a new cause of action for “unlawful penalization” when an employer makes the conditions of an accommodation unreasonably harsh. The NJ legislature made these legislative changes to protect pregnant and breastfeeding women from discrimination by requiring that employers make reasonable accommodations that allow them to continue working.
The City of Paterson, New Jersey, recently settled a wrongful termination lawsuit brought by its former affirmative action/EEO director. The former employee claimed that the city breached its obligations under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination by wrongfully terminating her because of a disability.
Late this summer, the city of Vineland, New Jersey, entered into a $425,000 settlement agreement with veteran police officer Richard Burke. Officer Burke, who agreed to retire under the terms of the settlement, made claims against the department for violation of New Jersey’s Whistleblower Law (also known as the Conscientious Employee Protection Act, or CEPA). This law protects employees from being terminated or suffering other retaliatory action for reporting situations at work where they reasonably believe their employer or one of its agents is acting in violation of a law including engaging in criminal or fraudulent practices.