New Jersey lawmakers recently proposed an amendment to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) to include familial status as a protected category. Identical bills have been introduced in both the state Assembly and Senate.

The bill would prohibit employers from discriminating against employees based on their familial status. The proposed bills define familial status to include:

  • the natural or adoptive parent of a child;
  • the “resource family parent” of a child, which includes foster relationships and situations where adoptions are pending;
  • an individual who has a “parent and child relationship” with a child as defined by State law and excludes someone whose parental rights have been terminated;
  • an individual who has sole or joint legal or physical custody, care, guardianship, or visitation with a child; and
  • any person who is pregnant or is in the process of securing legal custody of an individual under 18 years of age.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Assembly Labor Committee. We will provide any updates on the bill’s progress in the legislature as they occur.

Just last month, the state Senate passed another proposed amendment to the LAD adding pregnancy to the list of protected categories. This bill is currently being considered by the Assembly.