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Public Accommodation Discrimination

Public Accommodation Discrimination

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ( LAD) was enacted originally in 1945 and has been amended many times to provide more and stronger protections for the inhabitants of New Jersey.  Although the LAD is widely thought of as an employment discrimination law, the statute protects the citizens of New Jersey in a much broader context.  All persons shall have the opportunity to obtain employment, and to obtain all the accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of any place of public accommodation, publicly assisted housing accommodation, and other real property without discrimination because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, affectional or sexual orientation, familial status, or sex, subject only to conditions and limitations applicable alike to all persons. This opportunity is recognized as and declared to be a civil right.

N.J.S.A. 10:5-4. This means that, if you were harassed or discriminated against at a gas station, bowling alley, hospital, the daycare center, or any of the thousands of other places of public accommodation that we all come into contact with throughout the course of our lives, you may have a legal claim that we can help you with.

The LAD defines the term “place of public accommodation” to include, but not be limited to, taverns, hotels, camps, retail stores, restaurants, garages, seashore accommodations, auditoriums, skating rinks, swimming pools, hospitals, clinics, libraries, preschools, primary or secondary schools, colleges and universities. According to the statute, “It shall be unlawful discrimination . . . [f]or any owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, agent, or employee of any place of public accommodation directly or indirectly to refuse, withhold from or deny to any person any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges thereof, or to discriminate against any person in the furnishing thereof, . . . on account of” a person’s protected status, such as race, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, disability or age. Thus, if you have been harassed at or denied access to a place of public accommodation because of some protected status, you may have a claim under LAD.

An example of a discrimination case in a public accommodations setting is D.B. v. Bloom, 896 F. Supp. 166 (D.N.J. 1995). In D.B. v. Bloom, plaintiff brought an action against a dentist and dental office under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the LAD, alleging that he was denied service after the dentist discovered that he was HIV positive. Citing N.J.S.A. 10:5-12 (f), the court found that plaintiff was handicapped, that the dental clinic was a place of public accommodation, and that plaintiff was denied services and equal treatment by defendants by virtue of his disability in violation of LAD. The court further found that the defendants “willfully and intentionally disregarded D.B.’s rights, which justifies the award of punitive damages for the purpose of deterring future similar egregious conduct.” Id. at 171.

  • Online Course: Discrimination in the Workplace

    Have you ever experienced discrimination in the workplace? Do you know your rights as an employee? This class will explore topics including: sexual harassment; discrimination on the basis of age, race, disability, or other protection classifications; medical marijuana in the workplace; whistle-blower claims; NJ’s newly enacted Wage Theft Act; the difference between the Federal and State family leave acts; and other laws that protect employees. We will discuss hypothetical employment claims based on real life employment experiences. Update: This course will also cover new employee protections available due to COVID-19.

    The instructor for this course is Mason, Griffin & Pierson attorney, Elizabeth Zuckerman, Esq., who has been practicing employment law in Princeton for 30 years.

    Register at
    https://www.ssreg.com/princeton/classes/results.asp?string=zuckerman

  • COVID-19 Employment & Financial Update (3/24/2020)

    Click Link Here to read important information regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

  • NELA-NJ Attorney Zuckerman

    In a recent decision (Justin Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings, Inc.), the New Jersey Supreme Court determined that an employee who is fired for using medical marijuana outside the workplace may bring a claim for disability discrimination under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Mason, Griffin & Pierson Attorney, Elizabeth Zuckerman, who argued the cause for Amicus Curiae National Employment Lawyers Association of New Jersey, stated the "decision is a win for employees who test positive for marijuana due to their lawful use of medical marijuana outside the workplace."

  • Scollo Joins Firm

    Jeanne-Marie Scollo has become an Associate with Mason, Griffin & Pierson, P.C. She earned her J.D from Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center. She is a member of the firm's Local Government Law and Litigation Practice Groups. Ms. Scollo brings over nine years of previous legal experience to the firm. She served as Deputy County Counsel for Middlesex County from 2014 to 2019 and was previously a solo practitioner in New Brunswick. Ms. Scollo is admitted in New Jersey and New York and is a member of the New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys, Mercer County, Middlesex County, and New Jersey State Bar Associations.