Out-of-state remote workers can sue New Jersey companies for discrimination

Dive Brief:

  • Employees who live or work remotely in another state for New Jersey companies are protected by the Garden State’s discrimination law, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin and the Division on Civil Rights announced in new guidance issued Tuesday. 
  • The guidance clarifies that New Jersey residents who work for employers based in other states are “not necessarily” covered by the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination but can be protected by federal laws and other state laws. 
  • “No matter where you live, no matter where you work, if you’re employed by a New Jersey employer, our laws protect you from bias,” Platkin said in a statement. “The guidance announced today makes clear that New Jersey employers are obligated to follow the Law Against Discrimination, even when their employees are out of state.”

Dive Insight:

The Law Against Discrimination prohibits employers from discriminating against workers based on sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, disability and several other protected categories. 

The guidance on LAD was issued to reflect the pandemic-driven uptick in remote work, the attorney general said. 

“New Jersey employers must respect their employees’ rights, no matter where they live or work,” Sundeep Iyer, director of the division on civil rights, said in a statement.

The announcement comes as remote workers have increasingly lodged disability-related lawsuits, alleging that remote work can be a reasonable accommodation for a disability. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from discriminating against workers and job seekers with disabilities and requires employers to work with individuals on establishing reasonable accommodations for their disabilities.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has identified telework or working from home as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.