Division on Civil Rights About

About DCR

Rachel Weiner Apter - Director
Rachel Wainer Apter, Director

Overview of DCR

The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) is the state agency charged with enforcing New Jersey’s civil rights laws, including the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) and the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA). The mission of DCR is to protect the people of New Jersey from discrimination and bias-based harassment in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

The LAD, one the most comprehensive anti-discrimination laws in the country, prohibits discrimination and harassment based on actual or perceived race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability and other protected characteristics. The law applies in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation (places open to the public, including businesses, restaurants, schools, summer camps, medical providers, government offices and agencies, etc.).

DCR has several bureaus that work to prevent, eliminate, and remedy individual and systemic discrimination and bias-based harassment:

  • DCR’s Enforcement Unit has a team of neutral investigators who investigate complaints of discrimination and bias-based harassment;
  • DCR’s Legal Unit has a team of attorneys who work with investigators on investigations, evaluating the parties’ legal claims and defenses, and assisting the Director in deciding motions and in reaching ultimate findings in each case;
  • DCR’s Community Relations Unit has a team of community relations specialists who work to prevent acts of discrimination and bias-based harassment through education and community engagement and work directly with impacted communities after civil rights incidents.
  • DCR’s Strategic Enforcement and Initiatives Unit has a team  of attorneys who draft statutory amendments and regulations, issue reports to raise the profile of civil rights issues, draft legal guidance documents, and undertake Director-Initiated Investigations into possible patterns and practices of discrimination.

Anyone who believes their rights under the LAD have been violated may file a complaint with DCR within 180 days of the incident. Click here to learn more about filing a complaint with DCR

Overview of Commission on Civil Rights

  • The LAD created the Commission on Civil Rights to “consult with and advise the Attorney General with respect to the work” of the Division on Civil Rights.  Click here to learn more about the Commission and it’s work.
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