The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) prohibits discrimination in the workplace. But does it protect employees who work for New Jersey companies remotely, such as telecommuters? A recent ruling by New Jersey’s Appellate Division makes it clear that an employee does not have to physically live or work in New Jersey to be protected by the LAD.
Susan Trevejo worked for Legal Cost Control (“LCC”) for 12 years. After LCC fired her, Ms. Trevejo sued for age discrimination in violation of the LAD. LCC is a New Jersey company which has its headquarters in Haddonfield, New Jersey. However, Ms. Trevejo is a resident of Massachusetts who has never lived in New Jersey or worked in LCC’s office in New Jersey aside from a few meetings she attended earlier in her tenure with the company. Rather, she worked remotely from her home.
Early into the case, LCC filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming that the LAD does not apply to Ms. Trevejo because she is not an “inhabitant” of New Jersey. The trial court denied LCC’s motion, and instead permitted the parties to engage in some limited discovery (the process of exchanging information in a lawsuit) about Ms. Trevejo’s right to bring a claim under the LAD.