Bill Text: NJ S2485 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Provides for a two-year statute of limitations in discrimination case under the "Law Against Discrimination" and prohibits certain waiver provisions in employment contracts.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2018-04-16 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee [S2485 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-S2485-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 2485

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED APRIL 16, 2018

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  NILSA CRUZ-PEREZ

District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Provides for a two-year statute of limitations in discrimination case under the "Law Against Discrimination" and prohibits certain waiver provisions in employment contracts.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning discrimination and amending P.L.1945, c.169.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  Section 11 of P.L.1945, c.169 (C.10:5-12) is amended to read as follow:

     11.  It shall be an unlawful employment practice, or, as the case may be, an unlawful discrimination:

     a.     For an employer, because of the race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, affectional or sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy, sex, gender identity or expression, disability or atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait of any individual, or because of the liability for service in the Armed Forces of the United States or the nationality of any individual, or because of the refusal to submit to a genetic test or make available the results of a genetic test to an employer, to refuse to hire or employ or to bar or to discharge or require to retire, unless justified by lawful considerations other than age, from employment such individual or to discriminate against such individual in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment; provided, however, it shall not be an unlawful employment practice to refuse to accept for employment an applicant who has received a notice of induction or orders to report for active duty in the armed forces; provided further that nothing herein contained shall be construed to bar an employer from refusing to accept for employment any person on the basis of sex in those certain circumstances where sex is a bona fide occupational qualification, reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the particular business or enterprise; provided further that nothing herein contained shall be construed to bar an employer from refusing to accept for employment or to promote any person over 70 years of age; provided further that it shall not be an unlawful employment practice for a club exclusively social or fraternal to use club membership as a uniform qualification for employment, or for a religious association or organization to utilize religious affiliation as a uniform qualification in the employment of clergy, religious teachers or other employees engaged in the religious activities of the association or organization, or in following the tenets of its religion in establishing and utilizing criteria for employment of an employee; provided further, that it shall not be an unlawful employment practice to require the retirement of any employee who, for the two-year period immediately before retirement, is employed in a bona fide executive or a high policy-making position, if that employee is entitled to an immediate non-forfeitable annual retirement benefit from a pension, profit sharing, savings or deferred retirement plan, or any combination of those plans, of the employer of that employee which equals in the aggregate at least $27,000.00; and provided further that an employer may restrict employment to citizens of the United States where such restriction is required by federal law or is otherwise necessary to protect the national interest.

     The provisions of subsections a. and b. of section 57 of P.L.2003, c.246 (C.34:11A-20), and the provisions of section 58 of P.L.2003, c.246 (C.26:8A-11), shall not be deemed to be an unlawful discrimination under P.L.1945, c.169 (C.10:5-1 et seq.).

     For the purposes of this subsection, a "bona fide executive" is a top level employee who exercises substantial executive authority over a significant number of employees and a large volume of business.  A "high policy-making position" is a position in which a person plays a significant role in developing policy and in recommending the implementation thereof.

     b.    For a labor organization, because of the race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, pregnancy, or sex of any individual, or because of the liability for service in the Armed Forces of the United States or nationality of any individual, to exclude or to expel from its membership such individual or to discriminate in any way against any of its members, against any applicant for, or individual included in, any apprentice or other training program or against any employer or any individual employed by an employer; provided, however, that nothing herein contained shall be construed to bar a labor organization from excluding from its apprentice or other training programs any person on the basis of sex in those certain circumstances where sex is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the particular apprentice or other training program.

     c.     For any employer or employment agency to print or circulate or cause to be printed or circulated any statement, advertisement or publication, or to use any form of application for employment, or to make an inquiry in connection with prospective employment, which expresses, directly or indirectly, any limitation, specification or discrimination as to race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, nationality, pregnancy, or sex or liability of any applicant for employment for service in the Armed Forces of the United States, or any intent to make any such limitation, specification or discrimination, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification.

     d.    For any person to take reprisals against any person because that person has opposed any practices or acts forbidden under this act or because that person has filed a complaint, testified or assisted in any proceeding under this act or to coerce, intimidate, threaten or interfere with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of that person having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of, any right granted or protected by this act.

     e.     For any person, whether an employer or an employee or not, to aid, abet, incite, compel or coerce the doing of any of the acts forbidden under this act, or to attempt to do so.

     f.     (1) For any owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, agent, or employee of any place of public accommodation directly or indirectly to refuse, withhold from or deny to any person any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges thereof, or to discriminate against any person in the furnishing thereof, or directly or indirectly to publish, circulate, issue, display, post or mail any written or printed communication, notice, or advertisement to the effect that any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges of any such place will be refused, withheld from, or denied to any person on account of the race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, pregnancy, sex, gender identity or expression, affectional or sexual orientation, disability or nationality of such person, or that the patronage or custom thereat of any person of any particular race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, pregnancy status, sex, gender identity or expression, affectional or sexual orientation, disability or nationality is unwelcome, objectionable or not acceptable, desired or solicited, and the production of any such written or printed communication, notice or advertisement, purporting to relate to any such place and to be made by any owner, lessee, proprietor, superintendent or manager thereof, shall be presumptive evidence in any action that the same was authorized by such person; provided, however, that nothing contained herein shall be construed to bar any place of public accommodation which is in its nature reasonably restricted exclusively to individuals of one sex, and which shall include but not be limited to any summer camp, day camp, or resort camp, bathhouse, dressing room, swimming pool, gymnasium, comfort station, dispensary, clinic or hospital, or school or educational institution which is restricted exclusively to individuals of one sex, provided individuals shall be admitted based on their gender identity or expression, from refusing, withholding from or denying to any individual of the opposite sex any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges thereof on the basis of sex; provided further, that the foregoing limitation shall not apply to any restaurant as defined in R.S.33:1-1 or place where alcoholic beverages are served.

     (2)   Notwithstanding the definition of "a place of public accommodation" as set forth in subsection l. of section 5 of P.L.1945, c.169 (C.10:5-5), for any owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, agent, or employee of any private club or association to directly or indirectly refuse, withhold from or deny to any individual who has been accepted as a club member and has contracted for or is otherwise entitled to full club membership any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges thereof, or to discriminate against any member in the furnishing thereof on account of the race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, pregnancy, sex, gender identity, or expression, affectional or sexual orientation, disability or nationality of such person.

     In addition to the penalties otherwise provided for a violation of P.L.1945, c.169 (C.10:5-1 et seq.), if the violator of paragraph (2) of subsection f. of this section is the holder of an alcoholic beverage license issued under the provisions of R.S.33:1-12 for that private club or association, the matter shall be referred to the Director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control who shall impose an appropriate penalty in accordance with the procedures set forth in R.S.33:1-31.

     g.    For any person, including but not limited to, any owner, lessee, sublessee, assignee or managing agent of, or other person having the right of ownership or possession of or the right to sell, rent, lease, assign, or sublease any real property or part or portion thereof, or any agent or employee of any of these:

     (1)   To refuse to sell, rent, lease, assign, or sublease or otherwise to deny to or withhold from any person or group of persons any real property or part or portion thereof because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, pregnancy, sex, gender identity or expression, affectional or sexual orientation, familial status, disability, nationality, or source of lawful income used for rental or mortgage payments;

     (2)   To discriminate against any person or group of persons because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, pregnancy, sex, gender identity or expression, affectional or sexual orientation, familial status, disability, nationality or source of lawful income used for rental or mortgage payments in the terms, conditions or privileges of the sale, rental or lease of any real property or part or portion thereof or in the furnishing of facilities or services in connection therewith;

     (3)   To print, publish, circulate, issue, display, post or mail, or cause to be printed, published, circulated, issued, displayed, posted or mailed any statement, advertisement, publication or sign, or to use any form of application for the purchase, rental, lease, assignment or sublease of any real property or part or portion thereof, or to make any record or inquiry in connection with the prospective purchase, rental, lease, assignment, or sublease of any real property, or part or portion thereof which expresses, directly or indirectly, any limitation, specification or discrimination as to race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, pregnancy, sex, gender identity, or expression, affectional or sexual orientation, familial status, disability, nationality, or source of lawful income used for rental or mortgage payments, or any intent to make any such limitation, specification or discrimination, and the production of any such statement, advertisement, publicity, sign, form of application, record, or inquiry purporting to be made by any such person shall be presumptive evidence in any action that the same was authorized by such person; provided, however, that nothing contained in this subsection shall be construed to bar any person from refusing to sell, rent, lease, assign or sublease or from advertising or recording a qualification as to sex for any room, apartment, flat in a dwelling or residential facility which is planned exclusively for and occupied by individuals of one sex to any individual of the exclusively opposite sex on the basis of sex provided individuals shall be qualified based on their gender identity or expression;

     (4)   To refuse to sell, rent, lease, assign, or sublease or otherwise to deny to or withhold from any person or group of persons any real property or part or portion thereof because of the source of any lawful income received by the person or the source of any lawful rent payment to be paid for the real property; or

     (5)   To refuse to rent or lease any real property to another person because that person's family includes children under 18 years of age, or to make an agreement, rental or lease of any real property which provides that the agreement, rental or lease shall be rendered null and void upon the birth of a child.  This paragraph shall not apply to housing for older persons as defined in subsection mm. of section 5 of P.L.1945, c.169 (C.10:5-5).

     h.    For any person, including but not limited to, any real estate broker, real estate salesperson, or employee or agent thereof:

     (1)   To refuse to sell, rent, assign, lease or sublease, or offer for sale, rental, lease, assignment, or sublease any real property or part or portion thereof to any person or group of persons or to refuse to negotiate for the sale, rental, lease, assignment, or sublease of any real property or part or portion thereof to any person or group of persons because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, familial status, pregnancy, sex, gender identity or expression, affectional or sexual orientation, disability, nationality, or source of lawful income used for rental or mortgage payments, or to represent that any real property or portion thereof is not available for inspection, sale, rental, lease, assignment, or sublease when in fact it is so available, or otherwise to deny or withhold any real property or any part or portion of facilities thereof to or from any person or group of persons because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, familial status, pregnancy, sex, gender identity or expression, affectional or sexual orientation, disability or nationality;

     (2)   To discriminate against any person because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, familial status, pregnancy, sex, gender identity or expression, affectional or sexual orientation, disability, nationality, or source of lawful income used for rental or mortgage payments in the terms, conditions or privileges of the sale, rental, lease, assignment or sublease of any real property or part or portion thereof or in the furnishing of facilities or services in connection therewith;

     (3)   To print, publish, circulate, issue, display, post, or mail, or cause to be printed, published, circulated, issued, displayed, posted or mailed any statement, advertisement, publication or sign, or to use any form of application for the purchase, rental, lease, assignment, or sublease of any real property or part or portion thereof or to make any record or inquiry in connection with the prospective purchase, rental, lease, assignment, or sublease of any real property or part or portion thereof which expresses, directly or indirectly, any limitation, specification or discrimination as to race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, familial status, pregnancy, sex, gender identity or expression, affectional or sexual orientation, disability, nationality, or source of lawful income used for rental or mortgage payments or any intent to make any such limitation, specification or discrimination, and the production of any such statement, advertisement, publicity, sign, form of application, record, or inquiry purporting to be made by any such person shall be presumptive evidence in any action that the same was authorized by such person; provided, however, that nothing contained in this subsection h., shall be construed to bar any person from refusing to sell, rent, lease, assign or sublease or from advertising or recording a qualification as to sex for any room, apartment, flat in a dwelling or residential facility which is planned exclusively for and occupied exclusively by individuals of one sex to any individual of the opposite sex on the basis of sex, provided individuals shall be qualified based on their gender identity or expression;

     (4)   To refuse to sell, rent, lease, assign, or sublease or otherwise to deny to or withhold from any person or group of persons any real property or part or portion thereof because of the source of any lawful income received by the person or the source of any lawful rent payment to be paid for the real property; or

     (5)   To refuse to rent or lease any real property to another person because that person's family includes children under 18 years of age, or to make an agreement, rental or lease of any real property which provides that the agreement, rental or lease shall be rendered null and void upon the birth of a child.  This paragraph shall not apply to housing for older persons as defined in subsection mm. of section 5 of P.L.1945, c.169 (C.10:5-5).

     i.     For any person, bank, banking organization, mortgage company, insurance company or other financial institution, lender or credit institution involved in the making or purchasing of any loan or extension of credit, for whatever purpose, whether secured by residential real estate or not, including but not limited to financial assistance for the purchase, acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair or maintenance of any real property or part or portion thereof or any agent or employee thereof:

     (1)   To discriminate against any person or group of persons because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, pregnancy, sex, gender identity or expression, affectional or sexual orientation, disability, familial status or nationality, in the granting, withholding, extending, modifying, renewing, or purchasing, or in the fixing of the rates, terms, conditions or provisions of any such loan, extension of credit or financial assistance or purchase thereof or in the extension of services in connection therewith;

     (2)   To use any form of application for such loan, extension of credit or financial assistance or to make record or inquiry in connection with applications for any such loan, extension of credit or financial assistance which expresses, directly or indirectly, any limitation, specification or discrimination as to race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, pregnancy, sex, gender identity or expression, affectional or sexual orientation, disability, familial status or nationality or any intent to make any such limitation, specification or discrimination; unless otherwise required by law or regulation to retain or use such information;

     (3)   (Deleted by amendment, P.L.2003, c.180).

     (4)   To discriminate against any person or group of persons because of the source of any lawful income received by the person or the source of any lawful rent payment to be paid for the real property; or

     (5)   To discriminate against any person or group of persons because that person's family includes children under 18 years of age, or to make an agreement or mortgage which provides that the agreement or mortgage shall be rendered null and void upon the birth of a child.  This paragraph shall not apply to housing for older persons as defined in subsection mm. of section 5 of P.L.1945, c.169 (C.10:5-5).

     j.     For any person whose activities are included within the scope of this act to refuse to post or display such notices concerning the rights or responsibilities of persons affected by this act as the Attorney General may by regulation require.

     k.    For any real estate broker, real estate salesperson or employee or agent thereof or any other individual, corporation, partnership, or organization, for the purpose of inducing a transaction for the sale or rental of real property from which transaction such person or any of its members may benefit financially, to represent that a change has occurred or will or may occur in the composition with respect to race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, familial status, pregnancy, sex, gender identity or expression, affectional or sexual orientation, disability, nationality, or source of lawful income used for rental or mortgage payments of the owners or occupants in the block, neighborhood or area in which the real property is located, and to represent, directly or indirectly, that this change will or may result in undesirable consequences in the block, neighborhood or area in which the real property is located, including, but not limited to the lowering of property values, an increase in criminal or anti-social behavior, or a decline in the quality of schools or other facilities.

     l.     For any person to refuse to buy from, sell to, lease from or to, license, contract with, or trade with, provide goods, services or information to, or otherwise do business with any other person on the basis of the race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, pregnancy, sex, gender identity or expression, affectional or sexual orientation, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, liability for service in the Armed Forces of the United States, disability, nationality, or source of lawful income used for rental or mortgage payments of such other person or of such other person's spouse, partners, members, stockholders, directors, officers, managers, superintendents, agents, employees, business associates, suppliers, or customers.  This subsection shall not prohibit refusals or other actions (1) pertaining to employee-employer collective bargaining, labor disputes, or unfair labor practices, or (2) made or taken in connection with a protest of unlawful discrimination or unlawful employment practices.

     m.   For any person to:

     (1)   Grant or accept any letter of credit or other document which evidences the transfer of funds or credit, or enter into any contract for the exchange of goods or services, where the letter of credit, contract, or other document contains any provisions requiring any person to discriminate against or to certify that he, she or it has not dealt with any other person on the basis of the race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, pregnancy, sex, gender identity or expression, affectional or sexual orientation, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, disability, liability for service in the Armed Forces of the United States, or nationality of such other person or of such other person's spouse, partners, members, stockholders, directors, officers, managers, superintendents, agents, employees, business associates, suppliers, or customers.

     (2)   Refuse to grant or accept any letter of credit or other document which evidences the transfer of funds or credit, or refuse to enter into any contract for the exchange of goods or services, on the ground that it does not contain such a discriminatory provision or certification.

     The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to any letter of credit, contract, or other document which contains any provision pertaining to employee-employer collective bargaining, a labor dispute or an unfair labor practice, or made in connection with the protest of unlawful discrimination or an unlawful employment practice, if the other provisions of such letter of credit, contract, or other document do not otherwise violate the provisions of this subsection.

     n.    For any person to aid, abet, incite, compel, coerce, or induce the doing of any act forbidden by subsections l. and m. of section 11 of P.L.1945, c.169 (C.10:5-12), or to attempt, or to conspire to do so. Such prohibited conduct shall include, but not be limited to:

     (1)   Buying from, selling to, leasing from or to, licensing, contracting with, trading with, providing goods, services, or information to, or otherwise doing business with any person because that person does, or agrees or attempts to do, any such act or any act prohibited by this subsection; or

     (2)   Boycotting, commercially blacklisting or refusing to buy from, sell to, lease from or to, license, contract with, provide goods, services or information to, or otherwise do business with any person because that person has not done or refuses to do any such act or any act prohibited by this subsection; provided that this subsection shall not prohibit refusals or other actions either pertaining to employee-employer collective bargaining, labor disputes, or unfair labor practices, or made or taken in connection with a protest of unlawful discrimination or unlawful employment practices.

     o.    For any multiple listing service, real estate brokers' organization or other service, organization or facility related to the business of selling or renting dwellings to deny any person access to or membership or participation in such organization, or to discriminate against such person in the terms or conditions of such access, membership, or participation, on account of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, familial status, pregnancy, sex, gender identity or expression, affectional or sexual orientation, disability or nationality.

     p.    Nothing in the provisions of this section shall affect the ability of an employer to require employees to adhere to reasonable workplace appearance, grooming and dress standards not precluded by other provisions of State or federal law, except that an employer shall allow an employee to appear, groom and dress consistent with the employee's gender identity or expression.

     q.  (1) For any employer to impose upon a person as a condition of obtaining or retaining employment, including opportunities for promotion, advancement or transfers, any terms or conditions that would require a person to violate or forego a sincerely held religious practice or religious observance, including but not limited to the observance of any particular day or days or any portion thereof as a Sabbath or other holy day in accordance with the requirements of the religion or religious belief, unless, after engaging in a bona fide effort, the employer demonstrates that it is unable to reasonably accommodate the employee's religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer's business.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, an employee shall not be entitled to premium wages or premium benefits for work performed during hours to which those premium wages or premium benefits would ordinarily be applicable, if the employee is working during those hours only as an accommodation to his religious requirements. Nothing in this subsection q. shall be construed as reducing:

     (a)   The number of the hours worked by the employee which are counted towards the accruing of seniority, pension or other benefits; or

     (b)   Any premium wages or benefits provided to an employee pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement.

     (2)   For an employer to refuse to permit an employee to utilize leave, as provided for in this subsection q., which is solely used to accommodate the employee's sincerely held religious observance or practice.  Except where it would cause an employer to incur an undue hardship, no person shall be required to remain at his place of employment during any day or days or portion thereof that, as a requirement of his religion, he observes as his Sabbath or other holy day, including a reasonable time prior and subsequent thereto for travel between his place of employment and his home; provided that any such absence from work shall, wherever practicable in the reasonable judgment of the employer, be made up by an equivalent amount of time and work at some other mutually convenient time, or shall be charged against any leave with pay ordinarily granted, other than sick leave, and any such absence not so made up or charged, may be treated by the employer of that person as leave taken without pay.

     (3) (a) For purposes of this subsection q., "undue hardship" means an accommodation requiring unreasonable expense or difficulty, unreasonable interference with the safe or efficient operation of the workplace or a violation of a bona fide seniority system or a violation of any provision of a bona fide collective bargaining agreement.

     (b)   In determining whether the accommodation constitutes an undue hardship, the factors considered shall include:

     (i)    The identifiable cost of the accommodation, including the costs of loss of productivity and of retaining or hiring employees or transferring employees from one facility to another, in relation to the size and operating cost of the employer.

     (ii)   The number of individuals who will need the particular accommodation for a sincerely held religious observance or practice.

     (iii) For an employer with multiple facilities, the degree to which the geographic separateness or administrative or fiscal relationship of the facilities will make the accommodation more difficult or expensive.

     (c)   An accommodation shall be considered to constitute an undue hardship if it will result in the inability of an employee to perform the essential functions of the position in which he or she is employed.

     (d) (i) The provisions of this subsection q. shall be applicable only to reasonable accommodations of religious observances and shall not supersede any definition of undue hardship or standards for reasonable accommodation of the disabilities of employees.

     (ii)   This subsection q. shall not apply where the uniform application of terms and conditions of attendance to employees is essential to prevent undue hardship to the employer.  The burden of proof regarding the applicability of this subparagraph (d) shall be upon the employer.

     r.     For any employer to take reprisals against any employee for requesting from any other employee or former employee of the employer information regarding the job title, occupational category, and rate of compensation, including benefits, of any employee or former employee of the employer, or the gender, race, ethnicity, military status, or national origin of any employee or former employee of the employer, regardless of whether the request was responded to, if the purpose of the request for the information was to assist in investigating the possibility of the occurrence of, or in taking of legal action regarding, potential discriminatory treatment concerning pay, compensation, bonuses, other compensation, or benefits.  Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require an employee to disclose such information about the employee herself to any other employee or former employee of the employer or to any authorized representative of the other employee or former employee.

     s.     For an employer to treat, for employment-related purposes, a woman employee that the employer knows, or should know, is affected by pregnancy in a manner less favorable than the treatment of other persons not affected by pregnancy but similar in their ability or inability to work.  In addition, an employer of an employee who is a woman affected by pregnancy shall make available to the employee reasonable accommodation in the workplace, such as bathroom breaks, breaks for increased water intake, periodic rest, assistance with manual labor, job restructuring or modified work schedules, and temporary transfers to less strenuous or hazardous work, for needs related to the pregnancy when the employee, based on the advice of her physician, requests the accommodation, unless the employer can demonstrate that providing the accommodation would be an undue hardship on the business operations of the employer.  The employer shall not in any way penalize the employee in terms, conditions or privileges of employment for requesting or using the accommodation. Workplace accommodation provided pursuant to this subsection and paid or unpaid leave provided to an employee affected by pregnancy shall not be provided in a manner less favorable than accommodations or leave provided to other employees not affected by pregnancy but similar in their ability or inability to work.  This subsection shall not be construed as otherwise increasing or decreasing any employee's rights under law to paid or unpaid leave in connection with pregnancy.

     For the purposes of this section "pregnancy" means pregnancy, childbirth, or medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, including recovery from childbirth.

     For the purposes of this subsection, in determining whether an accommodation would impose undue hardship on the operation of an employer's business, the factors to be considered include: the overall size of the employer's business with respect to the number of employees, number and type of facilities, and size of budget; the type of the employer's operations, including the composition and structure of the employer's workforce; the nature and cost of the accommodation needed, taking into consideration the availability of tax credits, tax deductions, and outside funding; and the extent to which the accommodation would involve waiver of an essential requirement of a job as opposed to a tangential or non-business necessity requirement.

     t.     For an employer to:

     (1)   Require an employee or prospective employee to make the waiver of rights granted under this or any other statute, rule or regulation, including the right to a jury trial, public adjudication in a court of law, discovery of evidence, compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorney fees, or statute of limitations, a condition of hiring, continued employment or compensation or a term, condition or privilege of employment;

     (2)   Request any employee or prospective employee to waive any claims prior to the existence of an actual dispute; or

     (3)   Harass, discharge, expel or otherwise discriminate against any employee because that person has opposed any practices forbidden under this subsection or that person has filed a complaint, testified or assisted in any proceeding under this subsection.

(cf: P.L.2013, c.220, s.2)

 

     2.  Section 12 of P.L.1945, c.169 (C.10:5-13) is amended to read as follows:

     12. Any person claiming to be aggrieved by an unlawful employment practice or an unlawful discrimination may, personally or by an attorney-at-law, make, sign and file with the division a verified complaint in writing which shall state the name and address of the person, employer, labor organization, employment agency, owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, or agent alleged to have committed the unlawful employment practice or unlawful discrimination complained of and which shall set forth the particulars thereof and shall contain such other information as may be required by the division. Upon receipt of the complaint, the division shall notify the complainant on a form promulgated by the director of the division and approved by the Attorney General of the complainant's rights under this act, including the right to file a complaint in the Superior Court to be heard before a jury; of the jurisdictional limitations of the division; and any other provisions of this act, without interpretation, that may apply to the complaint. The Commissioner of Labor, the Attorney General, or the Commissioner of Education may, in like manner, make, sign and file such complaint.  Any employer whose employees, or some of them, refuse or threaten to refuse to co-operate with the provisions of this act, may file with the division a verified complaint asking for assistance by conciliation or other remedial action. 

     Any complainant may initiate suit in Superior Court under this act without first filing a complaint with the division or any municipal office. An action under this act shall be commenced within two years next after the cause of any such action shall have accrued. Upon the application of any party, a jury trial shall be directed to try the validity of any claim under this act specified in the suit. All remedies available in common law tort actions shall be available to prevailing plaintiffs. These remedies are in addition to any provided by this act or any other statute. Prosecution of such suit in Superior Court under this act shall bar the filing of a complaint with the division or any municipal office during the pendency of any such suit. 

     At any time after 180 days from the filing of a complaint with the division, a complainant may file a request with the division to present the action personally or through counsel to the Office of Administrative Law. Upon such request, the director of the division shall file the action with the Office of Administrative Law, provided that no action may be filed with the Office of Administrative Law where the director of the division has found that no probable cause exists to credit the allegations of the complaint or has otherwise dismissed the complaint. 

     A party to an action based upon a violation of this act shall mail a copy of the initial pleadings or claims, amended pleadings or claims, counterclaims, briefs, and legal memoranda to the division at the same time as filing such documents with the Office of Administrative Law or the court. Upon application to the Office of Administrative Law or to the court wherein the matter is pending, the division shall be permitted to intervene. 

(cf: P.L.1990, c.12, s.2) 

 

     3.  This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill codifies the recent New Jersey Supreme Court  case of Rodriguez v. Raymours Furniture Co., 2016 N.J.LEXIS 566 (June 15, 2016)  which held that an employment contract cannot frustrate the public purpose of the "Law Against Discrimination," P.L.1945, c.169 (C.10:5-1 et seq.) (LAD) by shortening the statute of limitations period for such claims.  The bill amends the LAD to prohibit any employer from requiring an employee or prospective employee to make the waiver of rights granted under LAD or any other statute, rule or regulation, including the right to a jury trial, public adjudication in a court of law, discovery of evidence, compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorney fees, or statute of limitations, a condition of hiring, continued employment or compensation or a term, condition or privilege of employment.  The bill also prohibits an employer from requesting any employee or prospective employee to waive any claims prior to the existence of an actual dispute.  And, finally the bill prohibits an employer from harassing, discharging, expelling or otherwise discriminating against any employee because that person has opposed any practices forbidden under this subsection or that person has filed a complaint, testified or assisted in any proceeding under this subsection.

     In addition, this bill codifies the holding in Montells v. Haynes, 133 N.J. 282 (1993) where the court determined that applicable statute of limitations for all actions under the LAD is the same two-year statute of limitations which applies to personal injury cases, N.J.S.2A:14-2. Under the bill, a person may bring an action under the LAD within two years next after the cause of any such action shall have accrued.  The Montells court noted that the two-year statute for personal injury claims "more closely comports with the purpose of the LAD." Id. at 291-292.  As the court most recently in the Rodriguez case noted, "[T] twenty three years later, the Legislature has registered "the tacit approval of that determination [Montells]. The lack of legislative action to signal disavowal of the two-year limitations period is significant in light of the many times since Montells was decided that the Legislature has taken affirmative steps to amend the LAD in other respects." Id. Rodriguez v. Raymours Furniture Co., 2016 N.J.LEXIS 566, at 26 (June 15, 2016).

     It is the sponsor's intent for the Legislature not simply to register "tacit approval" of a two-year statute of limitations but rather to affirmatively act to strengthen the LAD by providing specific statutory language concerning the two-year statute of limitations and employment contract waiver provisions.

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