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Understand NJLAD’s broad definition of ‘handicapped’

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that someone who isn’t disabled under the ADA also isn’t disabled under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). The fact is, the NJLAD is far more generous in its definition.

Any physical or mental, psychological or developmental disability is covered if it prevents normal bodily or mental functions, or is “demonstrable, medically or psychologically, by accepted clinical or laboratory diagnostic techniques.”

Recent case:
Diane Petras said her employer fired her because she was depressed and stressed out. She sued.

The company said she didn’t turn in medical forms and refused to accept a temporary transfer to accommodate her request for intermittent FMLA leave. It also argued she wasn’t disabled.

The court said her diagnosis, supported by her doctor’s opinion, met the NJLAD definition. She’ll get a trial. (Petras v. IAP Worldwide, No. 07-170, DCNJ, 2008)

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