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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.



  • Ian T. Hammett, Of Counsel with the Firm, has joined the UrbanPromise Trenton Board of Trustees and will serve as a member of the Development Committee.

    UrbanPromise Trenton is a non-profit, “for promise” organization providing free After School drop-in and Summer Camp programs to the youth of Trenton. UrbanPromise Trenton equips participants with the skills necessary for academic achievement, spiritual growth, life management, and Christian leadership. UrbanPromise Trenton also employs Trenton teens in their StreetLeader program where teens are mentors and leaders to the younger children in the programs.
    Mr. Hammett joined Mason Griffin & Pierson P.C. in 2018 and practices in the field of Trusts and Estates; Real Estate; Business Law; and Chancery Court Practice.
    To learn more about UrbanPromise Trenton, please visit www.urbanpromisetrenton.org.








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    We are pleased to announce that firm attorney Anthony R. Todaro has been appointed as Planning Board attorney in the Borough of High Bridge (Hunterdon County).








  • Anthony Todaro named Zoning Board Attorney:

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  • Trishka Waterbury Cecil, Of Counsel with the Firm, has been named a Trustee of the Hunterdon Land Trust.

    The mission of the Hunterdon Land Trust is to preserve the integrity of the rural landscapes in the Hunterdon County region by protecting/enhancing natural resources and the cultural landscape of the historic Dvoor Farm for public enjoyment and education. The Land Trust has helped protect more than 10,280 acres of farmland and open space and owns and manages nature preserves throughout Hunterdon County.

    To learn more about HLT, visit:
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    Trishka Waterbury Cecil, Of Counsel with the Firm, has completed her annual Year-End Law Review for 2020 (a/k/a the “Big Book”) which is now available for members on the New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys (NJILGA) website: https://www.njilga.org/. At a webinar presented on November 19, 2020 at the New Jersey State League of Municipalities Virtual Conference, Trishka (NJILGA Past President) and Steve Goodell (Treasurer), highlighted and discussed selected local government cases from the past year and entertained questions and comments from attendees.





  • Dragan Appointment

    Sharon Dragan, a Director with the Firm, has recently been elected to serve as Secretary for the NJ Institute of Local Government Attorneys in 2021. For more information about the NJILGA, see
    https://www.njilga.org/about-us/who-are-we.html.




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    Employment & Financial Update (10/02/2020)

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