The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee because of a disability.

The term “disability” is very broad under the NJLAD. A “disability” means any physical or sensory disability, infirmity, malformation, or disfigurement which is caused by bodily injury, birth defect, or illness including epilepsy and other seizure disorders, which includes, but is not limited to, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical coordination, blindness or visual impairment, deafness or hearing impairment, muteness or speech impairment, or physical reliance on a service or guide dog, wheelchair, or other remedial appliance or device, or any mental, psychological, or developmental disability, including autism spectrum disorders, resulting from anatomical, psychological, physiological, or neurological conditions which prevents the typical exercise of any bodily or mental functions or is demonstrable, medically or psychologically, by accepted clinical or laboratory diagnostic techniques.

The NJLAD also prohibits discrimination based on any disability that: (a) someone thinks you have now; (b) any disability you had in the past, or that someone thinks you had in the past; and (c) any disability that you might have in the future.

Disability discrimination is unlawful during the application/hiring process. You have the right to apply for and be fairly considered for jobs based on merit. If you are qualified for the job and you can do all the essential things that the job requires, then you should not be excluded or be considered less qualified than non-disabled people who have the same relevant education, training, certifications, licenses, and work experience that you have.

Disability discrimination is also unlawful after you are hired. Once you are hired, you have the right to the same types of job assignments, training, promotions, and all other work benefits the employer provides to similarly situated employees. In addition, once you are hired, employers must provide reasonable accommodations you need to do the job, such as special equipment or modified duties or schedules, unless doing so would cause the employer undue hardship. Employers must do this if you have the disability when you are hired, or if a disability arises or changes after you start the job. In some cases, providing time off so that you can get treatment for a disability may be a reasonable accommodation.

Disability discrimination is unlawful when an employer is making decisions about discharging or laying-off employees. An employer must not consider your disability or your need for workplace accommodations when deciding which employees will be laid off during a reduction in force or downsizing. An employer can only terminate your employment based on your disability if the disability stops you from doing the essential parts of your job properly, and your special needs cannot be reasonably accommodated without undue hardship.