Law Offices of Mitchell Schley, LLC

New York and New Jersey Labor and Employment Lawyer

197 Route 18 South
South Tower – Suite 3000
East Brunswick, NJ 08816
Phone: (732) 325-0318
Fax: (732) 325-0317

245 Park Avenue, 39th Floor,
New York, NY 10167
Phone: (212) 672-1848
Fax: (212) 372-8798

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(732) 325-0318

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About Mitchell Schley, ESQ

Disability Discrimination under State and Federal Law

Today’s topic concerns disability discrimination in the workplace under state and federal law.

Both the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), a federal law, prohibit employers from discriminating against employees or job applicants because they are disabled or were disabled in the past. This prohibition has also been extended to protect those persons who are perceived to be disabled. Therefore, even if the employer’s beliefs are incorrect and the individual is not in fact disabled, he or she will still be protected under the law. The law protects employees from disability discrimination in all aspects of employment, including, hiring, compensation, promotion, and termination. These laws also protect employees from being retaliated against by their employers for complaining about disability discrimination.

As discussed below, in order for individuals to gain protection under these laws, he or she must possess a disability as defined by NJLAD or ADA and must be capable of performing the essential duties of the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation by the employer.

An employee will only be protected under the law if he or she is capable of performing the essential duties of the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation. For instance, if your disability prevents you from using a telephone, and using a telephone is essential to the job, then the employer can refuse to hire you. However, before the employer makes a decision, the employer is legally required to consider whether you can perform the job with a reasonable accommodation. A reasonable accommodation for a disability could include a modified work schedule, making facilities readily accessible and usable by the disabled individual, or acquisition or modification of equipment.

A very common disability is a back injury. Under the law, if you have a back injury, and your employer is aware of this, your employer may not refuse to hire you or fire you because of this disability if you can perform the necessary duties of the job, with or without an accommodation. A reasonable accommodation in this instance will likely be lifting limitations or possibly even working from home. There are many other disabilities that could be the basis of a disability discrimination claim, such as pregnancy. Thus, if you believe you may have been discriminated against because of your disability, you should speak to a labor lawyer who specializes in these matters.

Mitchell Schley is an attorney who practices labor law at the Law Offices of Mitchell Schley, LLC in East Brunswick and New York City. Feel free to contact him if you have a question about this article or any other labor law issue. He can be reached at (732) 325-0318 or at

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Law Offices of Mitchell Schley, LLC
197 Route 18 South, South Tower – Suite 3000, East Brunswick, NJ 08816 • Phone: (732) 325-0318 • Fax: (732) 325-0317
245 Park Avenue, 39th Floor, New York, NY 10167 • Phone: (212) 672-1848 • Fax: (212) 372-8798
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