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  Frequently Asked Questions  
 

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  1. What are the enforcement responsibilities of the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights?
  2. What does the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination prohibit?
  3. What does the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) provide?
  4. What can I do if I believe my rights have been violated under these laws?
  5. How is a complaint handled by the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights?
  6. What if the Division's investigation reaches a finding of probable cause?
  7. If my case is successful, what remedies and/or damages can the Director order?
  8. What if the Division reaches a finding of no probable cause in my case?
  9. Can I go directly to court with my complaint?
  10. What if, after I have filed my complaint with the Division, I decide I do not want my complaint investigated by the Division?
  11. Do I need a lawyer to represent me before the Division?
  12. Why can't I open the file I downloaded from this site?
  13. If I am fired for unlawful reasons under the LAD or the FLA, do I have an obligation to find other employment while my case is being reviewed by the Division?
 
     
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  1. What are the enforcement responsibilities of the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights?

    The Division enforces the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) and the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA).

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  2. What does the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination prohibit?

    The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination prohibits discrimination on the bases of age, ancestry, color, creed (religion), disability (including AIDS and HIV infection), genetic information or the refusal to submit to a genetic test or make available the results of a genetic test to an employer, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, familial status, liability for military service, marital status, domestic partnership or civil union status, nationality, nation origin, race, sex, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. The law protects individuals against discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and certain business transactions. Not all characteristics are protected in all areas. The law also prohibits certain nursing homes or intermediate care facilities from discriminating against an individual because he or she is eligible for Medicaid.


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  3. What does the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) provide?

    The NJFLA requires certain employers to provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of family leave to care for a newly born or adopted child, or for a parent, spouse, or child with serious health condition.
    More Family Leave FAQ's


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  4. What can I do if I believe my rights have been violated under these laws?

    You may file a complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (Division) within 180 days of the date of the alleged violation. The complaint must be filed at one of the Division's five regional offices. Alternatively, you may file a complaint in the Law Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey within two years of the alleged violation (within six years for incidents which occurred before July 27, 1993).

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  5. How is a complaint handled by the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights?

    If your complaint is accepted by the Division, you are then referred to as the "complainant" in the matter. A complaint is generally assigned to a Division investigator. The Division investigator serves the complaint on the individual and/or entity (respondent) alleged to have discriminated against you or violated your rights. Within 20 days of being served, the respondent must file an answer to the complaint. The investigator assigned to your case will conduct an investigation which may include interviews, field visits, and the securing of medical and/or employment records. Based on the investigation, the investigator will make a recommendation to the Division's Director as to whether probable cause or no probable cause exits to believe the allegations of unlawful conduct are true.

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  6. What if the Division's investigation reaches a finding of probable cause?

    If there is a finding of probable cause, the complainant and the respondent are notified of the finding and the Division schedules a conciliation conference with the respondent. The purpose of conciliation is to determine if the respondent is interested in settling the matter without the need for further proceedings. If the Division can work out an agreement with respondent and the complainant accepts the agreement, then the matter will be closed.

    If an agreement cannot be reached, the Director will transmit the case to the Office of Administrative Law for a hearing. A Deputy Attorney General may be assigned to prosecute the complaint on behalf of the Division, or the complainant may retain his/her own counsel. After the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will render an initial decision which can be accepted, modified, or rejected by the Director.

    If the initial decision is accepted, the Director will issue an order adopting the decision. If the initial decision is rejected, the Director may reverse the findings of the ALJ or remand (send back) the case to the ALJ for further consideration.

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  7. If my case is successful, what remedies and/or damages can the Director order?

    The Director, among other things, can order the respondent to: cease and desist from engaging in the unlawful conduct; hire, promote, or reinstate the complainant into a position; pay the complainant back pay or damages for pain and humiliation; reimburse the complainant for loss of fringe benefits; and restore health benefits, pension benefits, and/or seniority rights. The Director may also award attorney's fees and assess penalties of up to $10,000 for a first offense, $25,000 for a second offense, and $50,000 for a third offense under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination or the New Jersey Family Leave Act. The final order of the Director may be appealed to the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court, located in Trenton. A notice of appeal must be filed with the Appellate Division within 45 days of the Director's Order.

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  8. What if the Division reaches a finding of no probable cause in my case?

    You may file an appeal with the Appellate Division. The notice of the appeal must be filed within 45 days of the Division's finding. Alternatively, under narrowly defined circumstances and time constraints, a complainant may file a written motion with the Director of the Division asking the Director to reconsider a finding of no probable cause or to reopen the matter.

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  9. Can I go directly to court with my complaint?

    Under the law, an individual may initiate an action in Superior Court without first filing a complaint with the Division. Prosecution of your claim in Superior Court, however, bars the simultaneous filing of a complaint with the Division or the further processing of a complaint which has already been filed with the Division. If you file an action in Superior Court, you are entitled to a jury trial and, if you win your case, a judge or jury may award you compensatory damages (such as back pay, reinstatement, promotion, pain and humiliation) and punitive damages.

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  10. What if, after I have filed my complaint with the Division, I decide I do not want my complaint investigated by the Division?

    You may request the Division to transfer your case to the Office of Administrative Law for a hearing, and at the hearing you can present your case personally, or obtain an attorney to represent you. However, you must wait 180 days after filing your complaint before you can request the Division to transfer your case. Your case will not be transferred to the Office of Administrative Law when the Director of the Division has reached a finding of no probable cause or the complaint has been otherwise dismissed. You may also withdraw your complaint from the Division and, if otherwise permitted by law, file a civil lawsuit in state or federal court.

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  11. Do I need a lawyer to represent me before the Division?

    You do not need a lawyer to represent you before the Division. Some individuals may decide to consult with or retain the services of an attorney during the investigation and hearing stages depending on the complexity of the case and financial resources of the individual. If the Director issues a finding of probable cause, your case may be prosecuted at the hearing by a Deputy Attorney General on behalf of the Division at no cost to you.

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  12. Why can't I open the file I downloaded from this site?

    The file you downloaded might be a PDF (Portable Document Format) document. You may need to download the latest version of Adobe's (FREE) Acrobat Reader in order to correctly view and print PDF files.

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  13. If I am fired for unlawful reasons under the LAD or the FLA, do I have an obligation to find other employment while my case is being reviewed by the Division?

    Yes. In the event that you are ultimately successful in your claim, your damages award, if any, may be reduced to the extent that you did not take reasonable steps to mitigate (lessen) your damages by seeking other employment.

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    If you are unable to find other employment, you should at least be able to provide detailed documentation of your attempts to do so.

To view the full Civil Rights statute click here for Title 10 Civil Rights

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