Failure to Contract: The LAD’s Anti-Discrimination Provisions for Non-Employees

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New Jersey employers and businesses should generally be familiar with the state’s anti-discrimination statute, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A. §10:5-1 et seq. (“LAD”), which prohibits discrimination against an employee because of the employee’s protected characteristics. Section 10:5-12(a) of the LAD provides far broader protections for employees than currently exist under Title VII and other federal anti-discrimination laws. The list of classifications protected under the LAD—which has expanded in recent years—includes race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, civil union and domestic partnership status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information or testing results, pregnancy, breastfeeding, disability, and military service. Id.

However, New Jersey employers and businesses should also familiarize themselves with the lesser-known provisions of the LAD that prohibit discrimination outside of the employment context, including discrimination in private business transactions and contracts. See N.J.S.A. §§10:5-12(b) (discrimination by labor organizations); 10:5-12(f) (discrimination in public accommodations); 10:5-12(g)-(h) (discrimination in real estate industry practices); and 10:5-12(i) (discrimination in banking and lending practices).

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