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The NJLAD and the PHRA

March 5, 2021 Workplace Discrimination

How They Protect NJ and PA Workers Against Discrimination

There are a number of laws that prevent workplace discrimination at the federal level—including Title VII (also known as the Civil Rights Act of 1964), the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination and Employment Act.

But states have their own anti-discrimination laws as well—sometimes stronger and broader than protections at the federal level. Here’s a look at the anti-discrimination laws in Pennsylvania and New Jersey: the PHRA and the NJLAD.

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA)

This law predates the Civil Rights Act by almost a decade. It was passed in 1955, and it bars discrimination against a broader number of protected employees than the Civil Rights Act does.

The PHRA prohibits employers from discriminating against employees in the workplace for reasons of:

  • Race, color, religious creed, or ancestry
  • Age (40 or older)
  • Sex
  • National origin
  • Disability
  • Use of a guide or support animal because of blindness, deafness, or disability
  • Possession of a GED rather than a high school diploma

In addition to protecting a larger number of people from discrimination, the law applies to any employer with four or more employees—whereas Title VII applies to employers with fifteen or more.

It also allows individual liability for those who aid and abet unlawful acts of discrimination—which means that individuals at your workplace may be held legally responsible for discrimination as well as employers.

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD)

This law provides broad protections for employees in New Jersey against workplace discrimination. It applies to employers of all sizes, as well as out-of-state companies that have employees in New Jersey. Only certain federal employers are exempt.

Protected classes under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination include the following:

  • Race, skin color, or creed
  • National origin or nationality
  • Ancestry
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Pregnancy status
  • Familial status
  • Marital, civil union, or domestic partnership status
  • Religion
  • Affectional or sexual orientation
  • Gender identity and expression
  • Atypical hereditary cellular or blood traits
  • Genetic information
  • Liability for military service
  • Mental or physical disability (including perceived disability)
  • AIDS or HIV status

In addition to covering workplace discrimination, this law prohibits discrimination in housing, hospitality, and any place of public accommodation—which can include restaurants, theatres, daycare centers, retail stores, museums, libraries, pharmacies, and a broad range of other organizations and places of business open to the public.

Which Laws Are Applicable To You? 

If you are being discriminated against and you work in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, one or both of these laws may apply to you—depending on a number of factors. Your employer may also be in violation of federal law.

If you are experiencing workplace discrimination, you should speak to a knowledgeable employment attorney. Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at for a free, confidential consultation today.

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.