Discrimination against people with mental or physical disabilities is against the law on both the federal and New Jersey State level. In the workplace, this means employers must make “reasonable” accommodations so that opportunities and facilities are accessible to persons with disabilities.
New Jersey law makes it illegal for a person to be harassed or discriminated against because of any disability they have now or had in the past or may get in the future. Disability refers to a physical disfigurement, infirmity, malformation, illness, disability or disease, as well as psychological, mental or developmental disability that would prohibit the “normal” use of any body or mental function. This includes people with amputations or paralysis, hearing or vision impairments, speech impediments and epilepsy. The law also prohibits discrimination against people with HIV infections or AIDS, or with hereditary blood or cellular traits, such as the sickle cell trait.
On the federal level, disabled persons are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). New Jersey law, however, provides further protection because it does not require a “substantial limitation of a major life activity, ” for a disability to be considered as it relates to the law. In addition, New Jersey law applies to all employers, while federal law only applies to employers of 15 or more people.
In New Jersey, persons with disabilities have the right to apply for jobs based on merit. They must be considered qualified as long as they can perform all the essential duties of the job. They may not be asked to undergo a physical exam as a requisite for obtaining employment unless such an exam is required of all potential employees. People with disabilities also should be eligible for the same opportunities and benefits as all other employees, including training and promotion opportunities.
Employers are required to make accommodations for employees with disabilities that would enable them to perform their jobs, including providing special equipment or modified schedules. Exceptions exist if such accommodations would present undue hardship for the employer.
Because discrimination of persons with disabilities is against the law, it may be necessary for you to use the services of an experienced attorney. If you believe you have been discriminated against because of a disability, contact The Rotolo Law Firm to receive advice. Protect your rights. Call The Rotolo Law Firm today.