On January 21, 2014, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed legislation (effective immediately) that expands the rights of pregnant women in the workplace. This legislation signals a growing trend of employee-protective legislation related to pregnancy and comes on the heels of similar laws passed in New York City (effective Jan. 30, 2014), Maryland and California. Specifically, the legislation amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) by requiring employers in New Jersey to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant women and those who suffer medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth, unless such accommodations would pose an undue hardship on an employer’s business. Further, the amendment expressly adds “pregnancy” to the list of characteristics protected under NJLAD’s anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation provisions, which apply to New Jersey employers, labor organizations, landlords, lending institutions, and other entities that offer public accommodations. Because the legislation took effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature on January 21, New Jersey employers should act now to ensure compliance.
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