Division on Civil Rights



In 1945, New Jersey became the first state since the Reconstruction era to pass comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation with its enactment of the Law Against Discrimination, or as it is more commonly called, the “LAD.” In enacting the LAD, the NJ Legislature recognized that discrimination “threatens not only rights and proper privileges of the inhabitants of the State but menaces the institutions and foundation of a free democratic State.”

That legislation called for the creation of a Division on Civil Rights (DCR) to enforce the LAD and have as it goal, the eradication of the cancer of discrimination. Almost 70 years later, DCR continues to protect the rights of our neighbors and family members who, for example, have been denied a promotion because of their age or gender, excluded from public accommodations because of their sexual orientation or disability, harassed in the workplace because of their nationality or religious beliefs, or denied housing opportunities because of their race or family status. The LAD is universally regarded as one of the most comprehensive and respected anti-discrimination laws in the country.

DCR also enforces the New Jersey Family Leave Act, which provides job-protected time off for eligible employees, when they need to care for family members in certain situations.

DCR is a part of the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General /Department of Law and Public Safety and is the agency responsible for investigating discrimination complaints and eradicating illegal discrimination in New Jersey. DCR is comprised of investigators, attorneys, and professional support staff.  We serve as a fair and impartial forum for addressing claims that the LAD or the Family Leave Act has been violated.  Our main focus is to investigate claims of discrimination in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation (e.g., schools, stores, parks).  We participate in free seminars and other outreach activities designed to educate the public on anti-discrimination laws.

If you are interested in receiving more information about our work or bringing a matter to our attention, please visit any of our four regional offices or call (609) 292-4605 for additional information.  (TTY User Information). You can also email us with inquiries. We welcome your comments and suggestions on how we may better serve you.

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