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New Jersey Senate Advances Law to Prohibit Job Discrimination Based on Weight and Height

The New Jersey Senate has taken a significant step towards expanding protections against workplace discrimination by passing a bill that bans discrimination based on height and weight. The measure would amend the state Law Against Discrimination (LAD) to include these physical attributes as a basis for the law’s protection. 

The bill, S1602, approved by the Senate on February 12, 2024, would make it illegal for employers to refuse employment or to discharge an individual based on their height or weight. An exception would be made in cases where these physical attributes constitute a bona fide occupational qualification or safety consideration. If the New Jersey Assembly also passes this bill and it is signed into law by the governor, New Jersey will become the second state in the nation, following Michigan, to implement such protections.

The LAD already prohibits discrimination based on a wide range of personal characteristics, including race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, gender identity or expression, affectional or sexual orientation, marital status and familial status, among others. By adding height and weight to this list, the New Jersey Senate is recognizing the importance of protecting individuals from unfair treatment based on their physical attributes.

However, it is important to note that the bill does not specify the criteria for determining whether height or weight played a role in an adverse job action. This means the burden of proof is on the employee or job applicant to provide objective evidence to demonstrate that discrimination occurred. On the other hand, the employer would have the burden of proving that the exception for bona fide occupational qualifications or safety reasons applies in the particular circumstances. 

Under the LAD, employees or job applicants who experience illegal discrimination have remedies available to them. They can file a complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, which will investigate the claim and, if necessary, take action against the employer. Additionally, an individual represented by an employment discrimination attorney can file a lawsuit in state court to seek damages, reinstatement or other appropriate relief. The LAD also provides for the recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs, making it more accessible for individuals challenging discriminatory practices.

Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in Hackensack is one of New Jersey’s largest plaintiff-side employment law firms, handling cases of discrimination against individuals from all protected classes. We have the experience and resources to challenge even the most powerful defendants. To schedule a confidential consultation, call 551-245-8894 or contact us online.

Neil  H.  Deutsch Attorney Photo
Neil H. Deutsch

Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for his…

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Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

Bruce L. Atkins is the Senior Managing Partner at Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt P.C., a prominent plaintiff employment law firm in the tri-state area. Mr. Atkins believes employees’ rights should be aggressively pursued when they’ve been wrongfully dealt with by their employers. He brings this philosophy to his practice when considering each case and its…

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Adam J. Kleinfeldt

Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigation such as discrimination, retaliation and whistle blowing matters. He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a sexual…

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Debra M. McGarvey

Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the…

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Carly Skarbnik Meredith

Carly Skarbnik Meredith, Esq. is a Partner at the firm. Carly has focused her career exclusively in the field of employment law. She has a plethora of experience representing both employees and employers with their employment issues, needs, and concerns. She believes representing both employees and employers has made her an extremely well-rounded client advocate.…


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