New Jersey Pregnancy Discrimination Law Effective Immediately

On January 21, 2014, Governor Chris Christie signed into law S2995/A4486, which amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) to prohibit discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, including recovery from childbirth, in the workplace. This measure is effective immediately.

The legislation requires employers to treat women affected by pregnancy in a manner similar to employees who are not affected by pregnancy, but who share in their ability or inability to work. Additionally, an employer must make reasonable accommodations available to women affected by pregnancy if such an accommodation is requested based on the advice of the employee’s physician. Reasonable accommodations include: “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.”

Accommodations that pose an undue hardship on the employer’s business are not reasonable and need not be implemented. Factors to be considered in determining whether an accommodation would impose an undue hardship include, but are not limited to, the size of the employer’s business, the nature of the accommodation, and the extent to which the accommodation would involve waiver of an essential job requirement.

The amendment makes clear that it is not to be construed as a way to increase or decrease a pregnant employee’s right to paid or unpaid leave pursuant to any other law or employer policy.

For questions regarding this legislation or discrimination and leave laws generally, please feel free to contact an attorney in the Gibbons Employment & Labor Law Department.

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