Civil Rights

Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination in various arenas, including employment, education, and housing. Because discrimination can take many forms, a violation of your civil rights can involve a denial of access to public services, unfair and disparate treatment, and adverse employment action.

What are My Civil Rights?

It is illegal to discriminate against someone over:

  • Race
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religious discrimination
  • National origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Other protected characteristics

Discrimination normally occurs in the following scenarios:

  • Employment: When you are at work, your employee should critique you on the quality of your work and not by your race, disability, age, or gender. The prohibition against unlawful employment practices extends to all aspects of employment, including the hiring process, promotions, compensation terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.
  • Housing discrimination: A property owner may not deny housing to an eligible applicant because of their sexual orientation, race, religion, or other protected characteristic. Additionally, redlining, the act of denying certain services to a neighborhood due to the ethnic and socio-economic composition of its residents, is illegal.
  • Government violations: The government (state, federal, and local) and its agents are prohibited from engaging in discriminatory conduct. Examples of potential governmental discrimination include the denial of contracts, discriminatory zoning practices, prohibition of free speech, infringement on freedom of religion, denial of benefits and due process.

If you believe that you have been discriminated against, you may have legal options available to you. However, before initiating legal proceedings, you should consult with an experienced civil rights attorney.

What laws apply to civil rights violations?

In certain cases, the state law is stronger than its federal counterpart. However, the opposite may also be true. Nonetheless, an example of legislation that prohibit discrimination include:

  • Civil Rights Act of 1964: This federal law prohibits the discrimination of people based on their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): This federal law prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. For example, the ADA requires that certain employers offer reasonable accommodations to an employee with a disability that would allow them to them to perform their duties.
  • New Jersey Civil Rights Act of 2004: This monumental law provides protection to individuals harmed by private citizens, and also gives the state attorney general the authority to file charges against the person engaging in discriminatory conduct.
  • New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD): This state law prohibits discrimination and harassment based on actual or perceived race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, and other protected characteristics. It applies in employment, housing, schools, restaurants, summer camps, etc. (collectively known as places of public accommodation).

What protections are in place for those with disabilities?

As mentioned above, the ADA and NJLAD prohibit the discrimination of individuals with disabilities. The laws distinguish two forms of discrimination, which is disparate treatment discrimination and failure to accommodate. In the former, the employer treats a person with a disability differently or less favorably than the other employees solely because of their disability. In failure to accommodate matters, the employer has failed to provide the accommodations (such as shift changes, temporary change of responsibilities, etc.) that the employee needs in order to successfully accomplish their duties.

When an employer hires a person with a disability, they must make a reasonable effort to provide accommodations for them so that they can perform their job. If the employer fails to make those accommodations or prematurely removes them during a person’s employment, the employer can be in violation of both the NJLAD and/or the ADA. Please be aware that the accommodations requested must be reasonable and something that an employer can provide. Normally, the employer does not have to provide an accommodation if it can prove that doing so would cause an undue hardship. An example of an “unreasonable accommodation” would be one where the employer has to create a position, or if granting the accommodation would adversely operations.

For example, to establish a discrimination claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, you must satisfy the following criteria:

  • You have a disability or are perceived to have a disability.
  • You were otherwise qualified to perform the essential functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation by your employer.
  • You suffered an adverse employment action because of the disability.

What can I do if I have been discriminated against?

As mentioned above, if you believe you have been discriminated against, you may have legal options. You should first consult with an experienced civil rights lawyer who can advise you of your rights and can determine if you have a case. If it is determined that you have a case, you can file a complaint in state or federal court for violations of the respective (and previously mentioned) laws. Because there are strict deadlines to file a complaint, you should contact an attorney as soon possible after the discriminatory conduct

The lawyers at John Rue & Associates, LLC fight to protect your civil rights.

Our New Jersey civil rights lawyers at John Rue & Associates, LLC would be honored to represent you if you believe that your civil rights have been violated. Call us at 862-283-3155 or fill out our online form today to schedule an initial, confidential consultation. Located in Montclair, we serve clients throughout the state.

John Rue & Associates, LLC
Montclair Office
40 South Fullerton Ave, Suite 29,
Montclair, NJ 07042
Princeton Office
100 Overlook Center, 2nd Floor
Princeton, NJ 08540

[email protected]

862-283-3155 (Phone)
973-860-0869 (Fax)

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