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NJLAD protects people perceived as handicapped

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in Human Resources

Employees don’t have to actually be handicapped to be protected from discrimination under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD).

It’s enough that an employer perceives them as handicapped. As the following case shows, it doesn’t take much to send such a case to a jury trial.

Recent case: Daniel O’Hare took several medical leaves before being let go for economic reasons. O’Hare sued under the NJLAD, claiming he was handicapped or perceived as handicapped. He said that he had told his supervisors he had a mass on his lung and was undergoing testing.

The court said his ailments didn’t amount to an actual handicap under the NJLAD, but that a jury should decide whether the fact that his supervisors knew about the mass and the tests meant they believed he had cancer. (O’Hare v. McLean Packaging, No. 08-2083, DC NJ, 2009)

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