Effective January 8, 2018, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) has been amended and expanded to prohibit discrimination and retaliation against women who breastfeed or express milk in the workplace. Therefore, the LAD now expressly includes breastfeeding as a protected characteristic under New Jersey law.
The LAD requires employers to make reasonable accommodations in the workplace for pregnant employees, such as bathroom breaks, breaks for increased water intake, periodic rest, assistance with manual labor, job restructuring or modified work schedules, and temporary transfers to less strenuous work or from hazardous work for needs related to the pregnancy based on the advice of the employee’s physician.
The amended law provides additional protection for employees who are breastfeeding in the workplace. Specifically, the amended law requires employers to make a suitable room or other location with privacy, other than a toilet stall, in close proximity to the work area for the employee to express breast milk for the child, unless the employer can demonstrate that providing the accommodation would be an undue hardship on the business operations of the employer.
The amended law has important ramifications for both employers and employees. Indeed, the LAD now expressly requires employers to make very specific reasonable accommodations for employees who are breastfeeding in the workplace. In addition, employees who breastfeed in the workplace are now afforded additional protections under New Jersey law as noted above.
If you have any questions about the above amendments, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and/or accommodations in the workplace, please contact the Law Office of Frank A. Custode, LLC.