TRENTON – Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced today that the Division on Civil Rights (DCR) is proposing new and amended rules to increase the visibility and effectiveness of posters that the State requires employers, businesses, and others to display to promote awareness of New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD) and Family Leave Act (NJFLA).
If adopted, the proposal would update DCR’s longstanding rules requiring certain employers, labor organizations, employment agencies, real estate brokers, housing providers, and places of public accommodation to prominently display posters created by the Division that inform individuals and covered entities of their rights and obligations under the LAD and NJFLA. Among other changes, the proposal would establish distinct poster requirements for health care facilities to inform patients of their right to be free from discrimination in healthcare.
“New Jersey has some of the strongest civil rights laws in the country, which often offer stronger protections than federal law,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “I commend the Division on Civil Rights for taking today’s step towards ensuring that more New Jersey residents know their rights.”
“These are not merely posters, these are educational tools,” said Division on Civil Rights Deputy Director, Rosemary DiSavino. “DCR’s proposed new rules and amendments would strengthen requirements for housing providers, employers and places open to the public to display these important posters that serve to educate and inform all New Jerseyans about their rights and obligations under the LAD and NJFLA. Our goal as a civil rights agency is to ensure that no matter where someone lives, works, or is served or treated, they know they are protected by our state’s civil rights laws.”
The LAD prohibits discrimination and harassment in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation on the basis of a number of protected characteristics, including race, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, and national origin, among others.
Additionally, the NJFLA ensures that employees of eligible employers may take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave during any 24-month period to care for or bond with a child; to care for a family member or someone who is the equivalent of family with a serious health condition or who has been isolated or quarantined because of a suspected exposure to a communicable disease during a state of emergency; or to provide required care or treatment for a child during a state of emergency if their school or place of care is closed by an order of a public official due to an epidemic of a communicable disease or other public health emergency.
Among other changes, DCR’s proposed rules and amendments would update the current rules to reflect that workers are increasingly working from home or in places other than an employer’s worksite. Therefore, DCR is proposing to allow covered employers with internet or intranet sites used by their employees to satisfy their poster display obligations by posting DCR’s official LAD and NJFLA posters on those sites and by providing copies of the posters to each employee at least once a year. This would allow employees working remotely to be able to view online the same poster materials that they would view in a traditional workplace setting.
DCR also is proposing to update its housing poster rule. DCR’s current rule requires all real estate brokers and all persons who engage in the business of selling or renting their own real property to display DCR’s housing poster. DCR is proposing to expand the rule to cover all persons who are engaged in the management of residential real property, including but not limited to landlords, property management companies, and cooperative and condominium associations.
The proposal anticipates that DCR will distribute distinct posters to be displayed by housing providers who sell or rent property, on the one hand, and by housing providers engaged in property management, on the other. The proposal additionally would give housing providers options for how to satisfy the proposed requirements by distributing the posters physically or on an internet or intranet site.
Finally, DCR is proposing changes to the requirements for places of public accommodation to display LAD posters. Under the proposal, DCR would be permitted in the future to create “category-specific” posters for different types of places of public accommodation. For example, under the proposal, DCR could create different posters for schools and restaurants, so that the content could be better tailored to each setting.
To that end, DCR is proposing specific poster requirements for health care entities providing health care services with a physical place of business that is open to the public. The proposed amendments would clarify that such entities must prominently display the applicable poster near each entrance and in each public waiting room, and may choose to display the poster in other locations as well. In addition, the proposed amendments contemplate the possible creation of different posters tailored to different types of healthcare providers.
The proposal notes that DCR’s creation of healthcare-specific posters is aimed at addressing the “racial, ethnic and national-origin-based disparities in health care and medical treatment” exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
DCR’s proposal is now subject to public comment. The proposed new rules and amendments, and information on how to submit a comment by May 20, 2022 can be viewed here.
DCR is the state agency responsible for preventing and eliminating discrimination and bias-based harassment in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation (e.g., places open to the public like schools, businesses, hospitals, etc.) by enforcing the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), the New Jersey Family Leave Act, and the Fair Chance in Housing Act (FCHA).
People who believe their rights under the LAD, FLA, or FCHA have been violated can file a complaint with DCR by visiting njcivilrights.gov or by calling 973-648-2700.