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State Anti-Bias Law Doesn’t Reach Federal Workers

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Not all New Jersey employers have to worry about complying with state anti-discrimination laws. Specifically, federal employers in the state aren’t subject to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD). Reason? The federal anti-bias laws (Title VII and the Rehabilitation Act) are the sole remedies for federal employees. State laws that provide additional protection don’t apply.

Recent case: Maryellen McGuire worked for the U.S. Postal Service in Collingswood. She sued under the LAD, alleging the Postal Service discriminated against her because of her sexual orientation and alcohol dependency.

The court dismissed her case, explaining that her exclusive remedies as a federal employee are Title VII for sex discrimination and the Rehabilitation Act for disability discrimination. It didn’t matter that Title VII doesn’t outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation, which the LAD does cover. (McGuire v. Potter, et al., No. 06-1745, DC NJ, 2006) 

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