Court Defines Evidence Needed to Establish a New Jersey Discrimination Case

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When a person is harmed by an employer’s discriminatory practices, the harm suffered is usually an adverse employment action or a hostile work environment. An employer can be held liable for discrimination that results in other harm, however. This was illustrated in a case recently decided by the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey in which the court held that an adverse employment action is not required to establish a prima facie case of discrimination. If you are the victim or workplace discrimination it is vital to meet with a seasoned New Jersey employment discrimination attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options for seeking damages for your harm.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff, a middle school teacher who suffers from Type I diabetes, fainted while teaching due to low blood sugar. The plaintiff alleged that her blood sugar was low because she was unable to eat lunch at an earlier time. Further, the plaintiff alleged that the accident would not have happened if the defendant principal and defendant school board had not denied her accommodation request to eat lunch at an earlier time.

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging that she suffered permanent and severe injuries when she lost consciousness and fell and asserted several claims against the defendant, including a failure to accommodate under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) claim. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court granted, on the grounds that the plaintiff failed to prove a prima facie case of LAD discrimination due to the failure to accommodate her disability because there was no evidence of an adverse employment action. The plaintiff appealed.


Prima Facie Case of Failure to Accommodate

On appeal, the court noted that the New Jersey Supreme Court had previously stated that, to establish a claim of discrimination under LAD due to failure to accommodate, a plaintiff must first establish that she or he has a disability. A plaintiff must then show that he or she was qualified to perform the essential tasks of the job with reasonable accommodations and that the defendant failed to provide reasonable accommodations for his or her disabilities.

In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff sufficiently stated a prima facie LAD claim for failure to accommodate her disability. Specifically, the court found that the plaintiff had a documented disability and that the accommodated she requested due to her disability was reasonable but was nonetheless denied. The court noted that the plaintiff’s alleged harm fell under the unusual circumstances where the harm cried out for a remedy, and therefore, it was not necessary for the plaintiff to allege she suffered an adverse employment action.

Discuss Your Case with a Skillful New Jersey Employment Discrimination Attorney

If your employer discriminated against you based on your disability, you should meet with a skillful New Jersey employment discrimination attorney regarding your case and what recourse may be available to help you recover compensation. At the Jaffe Glenn Law Group, our diligent New Jersey employment discrimination will work tirelessly to prove your employer should be held accountable for their discriminatory acts. You can be reached through our online form or at 201-687-9977 to schedule a confidential and free conference.