Earlier this year, New Jersey amended its Law Against Discrimination to expressly include “autism spectrum disorders” in its definition of disability. This means it is unlawful for New Jersey employers to discriminate against employees because they are autistic, unless the company can show that the autistic employee cannot perform the essential functions of his or her job, even with a reasonable accommodation. It also means that employers must provide reasonable accommodations for employees who are autistic.
The Law Against Discrimination prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because they belong to legally protected categories. In addition to disabilities, other legally protected categories include age, race, national origin, gender, pregnancy, and religion.
This amendment to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination was based on an October 8, 2009 report from the Adults with Autism Task Force. The full text of the new law is available here.