“Breastfeeding” Added to New Jersey’s Discrimination Law

Before leaving office, former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie signed Assembly Bill 2294, an expansion to the Law Against Discrimination (LAD), which provides protections for women who are breastfeeding.

While the law went into effect on January 1, 2018, updates to the three Discrimination notices were published by the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights in late April.

On the Discrimination in Employment, Discrimination in Places of Public Accommodation, and Discrimination in Housing notices, the list of protected categories under the law now includes the term breastfeeding. Each notice has a revision date of 4/8/18.

Details of the Employment Discrimination Changes

Workplace Accommodations for Breastfeeding Employees

Employers and employees should be aware that the updated LAD expands certain civil rights protections in the workplace to include breastfeeding, expressing milk, and related medical conditions.

Under the law—unless employers can prove that accommodating an employee would impose an undue hardship on their business—employers are required to provide an employee who is lactating with reasonable break times each day to express milk. These breaks must take place in a suitable location, other than a bathroom stall, that is private and close to the employee’s work area.

In addition, employers may not penalize employees related to the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment for requesting or using a provided accommodation, including paid or unpaid time off for a medical condition related to breastfeeding.

Future Changes for New Jersey

Phil Murphy, the current Governor of New Jersey, recently signed two bills that provide protections and benefits for employees in the Garden State. As soon as the required workplace notices for the two new laws are available, we will alert our New Jersey customers. Here is some information on these laws.

Equal Pay Act

The Equal Pay Act goes into effect on July 1, 2018. Wage discrimination based on an employee’s sex is currently prohibited under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. However, the Act expands the prohibition to include all the protected classes outlined in the LAD; for example, race, creed, age, pregnancy, liability for military service, and disability.

Earned Sick and Safe Leave

The Earned Sick and Safe Leave law go into effect 180 days after signing, approximately October 29, 2018. The law applies to all private businesses in the state, with no exception for small businesses. Generally, employees may accrue 1 hour of leave for every 30 hours worked, which may be used for their own qualifying needs or the needs of a family member.

Next Steps

There’s an awful lot happening in the State of New Jersey! If you have not already done so, we encourage you to order our 1-Year Compliance Plan so that you will automatically receive the updated New Jersey poster(s) as soon as it is available. And because our plan provides free poster updates for mandatory changes, no matter how many occur during the year, you can always count on Poster Compliance Center to keep your business in compliance!