The New Jersey Supreme Court Affirms That Treating Physicians May Establish Disability For Claims Under The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination
As a part of establishing a disability discrimination claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, a plaintiff must demonstrate the existence of an actual disability recognized under the law. Accordingly, it is important for potential victims of workplace disability discrimination to understand how to prove the existence of a disability under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
In Delvecchio v. Township of Bridgewater, decided on April 28, 2016, the New Jersey Supreme Court, for the first time, examined whether a plaintiff may rely on the testimony of a treating physician (as opposed to a witness designated as an expert) to establish a disability under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
In analyzing this issue, the Court held that the testimony of a treating physician is admissible at trial to support a plaintiff’s disability claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, as long as the proponent of the testimony gives notice of the testimony to the adverse party, responds to discovery requests in accordance with the New Jersey Rules of Court, and the testimony satisfies the New Jersey Rules of Evidence. However, the Court noted that the treating physician’s testimony must be limited to issues relevant to diagnosis and treatment. Therefore, if a particular claim requires medical testimony beyond the scope of patient care, expert testimony may be required.
If you have any questions about disability discrimination in the workplace and/or failure to accommodate disabilities in the workplace, please contact the Law Office of Frank A. Custode, LLC.