New Jersey Law Against Discrimination Protects Breastfeeding

Mothers can breastfeed at work in New JerseyLast week, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) was expanded to prohibit discrimination and harassment on the basis of breastfeeding and to require employers to provide certain reasonable accommodations for nursing.

The LAD is New Jersey’s anti-discrimination law.  It prohibits discrimination and harassment based on age, color, disability, gender (sex), marital status, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran or military status.

On January 8, 2018, Governor Christie signed into law an amendment to the LAD to include breastfeeding as a new legally-protected category.  As a result, now employers, unions, landlords, real estate agents, banks, and places of public accommodations, among others, cannot discriminate against women because they are breastfeeding.

The LAD also now requires employers to permit woman who are breastfeeding their infant children a “reasonable break time each day” and a “suitable room or other location with privacy” to express breast milk.  The statute makes it clear that this location must be in close proximity to the employee’s work area, and cannot be a bathroom stall.

The full text of this amendment to the LAD, is available on the New Jersey Senate’s website.

As detailed in my article, Nursing Mothers Finally Get a Break, in 2010 the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was amended to require most employers with 50 or more employees to provide employees breaks and a private place to express milk, as long as doing so would not impose an undue hardship on the employer.  The amendment to the LAD applies to all employers in New Jersey.