Transgender Individuals Will Now Be Protected Under NJ LAW

On December 19, 2006, NJ Govenor, Jon Corzine signed legislation to add gender identity expression as a protected class against discrimination to the NJ Law Against Discrimination (LAD). Under the law, that will come into effect in 180 days, transgender employees will have the same protections of other protected classes under LAD. In addition, employers would be required to allow employees to dress and groom themselves “consistently with the employee’s gender identity or expression.”

This law seeks to codify the NJ Appellate Division’s ruling, in Enriquz v. West Jersey Health Systems, 342 N.J. Super. 501 (App. Div. 2001). In that case an employee was hired as a male and within a year of employment began undergoing a transformation to be a woman. The employer became uncomfortable with the transformation and terminated the employee. The Court held that transexualism, otherwise known as gender dysphoria, although not a handicap under the ADA, is a handicap under the LAD, and is fact protected from discrimination.

It appears that this new law, which makes gender identity a protected class of its own may seek to follow society’s more current view of gender identity as less of a “mental disorder” and more of a way of life for many Americans.

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Welcome to the employment law blog of S. Jason & Associates, LLC. This blog is dedicated to the topic of employment law in general with specific attention to issues and laws affecting New York & New Jersey. The goal of this blog is to provide education and current information and trends on employment law for both the employee and employer. The aim is to provide an environment where employees can learn about their rights and employers, particularly small business can learn how to better to create and maintain fair and compliant workplaces for their employees. I have worked in the area of employment law in various capacities for almost ten years. I am currently an attorney licensed in NY & NJ who concentrates in employment law.