The NJLAD prohibits employers from denying employment opportunities to people with disabilities unless the employer reasonably determines that the nature and extent of a person’s disability reasonably precludes his or her safe performance of a particular job. In order for the decision to be reasonable, the employer must determine that the employee’s disability precludes the performance of essential duties, not merely hinders the execution of some tasks. Furthermore, before deciding that a person’s disability precludes his or her safe performance of a particular job, an employer must first consider the possibility of making reasonable accommodations, that is, adjustments to the work assignment or workplace, which may enable the person to perform the essential functions of his or her position. An accommodation may be required even if it causes the employer some inconvenience or cost. An employer must make reasonable accommodations to the limitations of an employee or applicant with a disability unless the accommodation imposes an undue hardship on the operation of its business.

An employer must make reasonable accommodations to the limitations of handicapped applications or employees unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business. An employer is required to consider the possibility of reasonable accommodations prior to making an adverse employment decision based on a finding that individual’s handicap precludes job performance. Depending upon the circumstances, reasonable accommodation may include making facilities are readily accessible and usable for the handicapped individuals, job restructuring, including part time or modified work schedules, acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, and/or job reassignments. Whether an employer has made a reasonable accommodation is determined on a case-by-case basis.

The NJLAD also protects employees from being differentially treated due to employer’s perception as having a disability, whether or not that employee is actually disabled. The protections of the NJLAD also have been extended to persons who suffer from medical conditions which the employer believes will disable them in the future.

A disability under the NJLAD may be physical or non-physical. The term disability is broadly construed. With few exceptions, the NJLAD does not define the specific conditions that qualify as disabilities. A person is disabled if he or she suffers from any physical disability, infirmity, malformation, or disfigurement caused by bodily injury, birth defect, or illness. Physical disability includes any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical coordination, blindness (or visual impairment), deafness (or hearing impairment), muteness (or speech impediment), or physical reliance on a service or guide dog, wheelchair, or other remedial appliance or device.
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Non-physical disability means under the NJLAD that he or she suffers from any mental, psychological, or developmental disability which either prevents the normal exercise of any bodily or mental functions or is demonstrable, medically or psychologically, by accepted clinical or laboratory diagnostic techniques.

As stated above, the term disability under the NJLAD is broadly interpreted by the courts. AIDS and HIV are disabilities under the law. Alcoholism is also a disability under the law. An experienced employment lawyer can advise you if your medical condition, illness, or disease qualifies as a disability under the law.

If you believe that you may have been the victim of disability discrimination, contact an experienced employment lawyer at Kurkowski Law today.