Traliant Resources

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New Jersey
Equal Employment Opportunity

Overview

Please review the information below and then return to the workplace harassment prevention course tab. 

Harassment and discrimination based on a protected characteristic are prohibited under both federal and state law.  The federal government and most state governments have agencies that help employers and employees understand these legal requirements and ensure compliance with the laws.

Protected Characteristics

Harassment or discrimination based on any characteristic set forth below is prohibited in New Jersey.

Federal

  • race 

  • color

  • national origin

  • sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity)

  • gender expression

  • disability

  • genetic information (including family medical history)

  • religion

  • age (40 and older)

New Jersey

  • race
    (including traits historically associated with race, such as hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles)

  • color

  • nationality or national origin

  • ancestry

  • sex
    (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and related conditions)

  • gender identity or expression

  • sexual or affectional orientation

  • age (18-70)

  • creed

  • disability and handicap

  • genetic information

  • marital, civil union, or domestic partnership status

  • status of being obligated for service in the US Armed Forces

Important Notes

In addition to the general protected characteristics listed above, some federal, state, and/or local laws also prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of other protected statuses in certain contexts, such as:

  • citizenship status or work authorization status,

  • emergency volunteer status,

  • family relationship with a co-worker, and/or

  • status based on information contained in criminal, background, or credit reports, or being subject to wage garnishments.

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Likewise, some federal, state, and/or local laws prohibit discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation for exercising certain legal rights such as:

  • participating in collective bargaining or union activities,

  • serving as a whistleblower pursuant to whistleblower laws,

  • filing a worker’s compensation or unemployment claim,

  • taking protected time off or protected leave,

  • engaging in certain off-duty activities.

Finally, under federal law and some state and/or local laws, employers may not limit or prohibit employees from using any languages in the workplace unless there is a business necessity for the restriction.

Note also that some federal, state, and/or local laws provide additional, separate standards and remedies for certain prohibited conduct, such as laws addressing equal pay without regard to sex or other protected category or specifically addressing sexual harassment prevention measures.

Applicable Laws

Federal

The primary federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination include Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, The Age Discrimination in Employment ActThe Americans With Disabilities ActThe Equal Pay ActThe Uniformed Services and Employment and Reemployment ActThe Immigration and Nationality Act, and The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

The U.S. Supreme Court held that Title VII protects individuals from employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, No. 17-1618 (U.S. June 15, 2020).

New Jersey

The primary state law prohibiting employment discrimination, including harassment, is the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (pdf).

Retaliation Prohibited

Employer retaliation against an employee who files a discrimination or harassment complaint or is involved in the complaint process is unlawful.

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only.
It does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.