How do I file an employment discrimination case?
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination Act (LAD) makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, nationality, ancestry, marital status, affectional or sexual orientation, sex, or liability for military service. The law also makes genetic discrimination illegal, preventing an employer from considering or testing for an atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait or genetic information.
Discrimination claims can be filed either with the state administrative agency, the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) or the federal administrative agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The two agencies have what is called a “work-sharing agreement,” which means that the agencies cooperate with each other to process claims. Filing a claim with both agencies is unnecessary, as long as you indicate to one of the agencies that you want it to “cross-file” the claim with the other agency.
The New Jersey anti-discrimination statute covers employers of any size. Therefore, if your workplace has between 1 and 14 employees, you may wish to file with the DCR, as the EEOC enforces federal law which covers only employers with 15 or more employees. Filing with the DCR is not required to pursue a discrimination claim directly in court, but if you do not have an attorney, you may wish to see whether the DCR can assist you in resolving your claim without filing in court.