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NJ Supreme Court: Workers’ Compensation Bar And Absence Of Adverse Employment Action Not Fatal To Employee’s Reasonable Accommodation Claim Under New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination

On June 23, 2021 by Schnader in Labor and Employment

Michael J. Wietrzychowski, Co-Chair of Schnader’s Labor and Employment Practices Group, published a client alert, “NJ Supreme Court: Workers’ Compensation Bar And Absence Of Adverse Employment Action Not Fatal To Employee’s Reasonable Accommodation Claim Under New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination.”

On June 15, 2021, the New Jersey Supreme Court in Richter v. Oakland Board of Education (A-23-19) (083273) held that an employee alleging her employer failed to reasonably accommodate her disability under New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD) did not have to make an initial showing of an adverse employment action – such as a demotion or termination – for her claim to proceed to trial. The Court also held that an employee’s reasonable accommodation claim was not barred by the “exclusive remedy provision” of the Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA), where the employee had recovered workers’ compensation benefits.

This decision may seem surprising to employers, but was expected by many in the legal community. The Richter decision underscores the importance for employers to create and implement a thorough and consistent reasonable accommodation process to avoid liability under New Jersey law.

Click here to read the full client alert.