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New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination Expanded To Include Breastfeeding As A Protected Class

workplace discrimination

In March 2010, the Fair Labor Standards Act was amended to require employers to provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth.”  Employers are also required to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is sheltered from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public, which may be used to express breast milk.”  This amendment does not apply to employers with fewer than 50 employees who can show that compliance with the law would cause an undue hardship.

On January 8, 2018, Governor Christie signed a law which amends New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) to include breastfeeding and expressing milk as a protected class.  The amendment makes it a civil rights violation for a woman to be fired or discriminated against because of breastfeeding or expressing milk during breaks.  The law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to breastfeeding employees, which includes a “reasonable break time each day to the employee and a suitable room or other location with privacy, other than a toilet stall, in close proximity to the work area for the employee to express breast milk for the child” unless the employer can show that such an accommodation would cause an undue hardship. LAD applies to all private employers in New Jersey, regardless of size.

Employers should review and amend their policies, where appropriate, to come into compliance with this new law. If you need assistance or have any questions regarding this new law, please contact me at ptcollins@nmmlaw.com.