All Employers with NJ Employees
January 8, 2018
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Governor Chris Christie recently signed Senate Bill S-2709, amending the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination to include breastfeeding and expressing milk as a protected class. This amendment implements anti-discrimination measures for breastfeeding employees and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to breastfeeding employees.
- Coverage: All New Jersey employers of any size must implement the requirements outlined by the amended law.
- Anti-discrimination provisions: Employers cannot discriminate against breastfeeding employees when determining compensation or any other terms, conditions, or privileges of employment. Breastfeeding employees, or those employees who may be affected by breastfeeding, cannot be treated less favorably than other employees who are not affected by breastfeeding, but are otherwise similar in the (in)ability to work.
- Reasonable accommodations: Breastfeeding employees must be provided reasonable accommodations, unless the accommodation poses an undue hardship on the business.
- Examples of reasonable accommodations include a private location that is not a toilet stall for the employee to express breast milk, and a reasonable amount of break time each day to do so.
- A number of factors may be considered in determining whether an accommodation is an undue hardship such as the overall size of the business and its facilities; the business’s industry and structure of operations; the business’s budget and the cost to implement the accommodation; and the extent to which the accommodation may waive essential job duties.
Breastfeeding anti-discrimination measures already exist as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”); however, the New Jersey law varies in a number of ways. For example, the FLSA only requires employers to provide accommodations through a newborn’s first year, whereas the New Jersey version does not specify such a limitation. As always, employers are required to apply whichever law is most beneficial to the employee.
- Review the text of S-2709 here.
- Have supervisory staff trained on the new anti-discrimination and reasonable accommodation requirements for breastfeeding employees.
- Have policies updated to reflect the new protections and requirements.
Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.
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