The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees to permit them to be able to continue to perform their jobs.
Ordinarily, an employee who brings a discrimination case under the LAD has to prove the discrimination led to an adverse employment action such as being fired, demoted, or passed up for a promotion. However, in a recent published opinion, Richter v. Oakland Board of Education, New Jersey’s Appellate Division ruled that an employee can recover damages for a physical injury caused by the employer’s failure to accommodate her disability without having to prove she suffered an adverse employment action.
Mary Richter is a science teacher for the Oakland Board of Education at Valley Middle School. During the first marking period of the 2012/2013 school year, her lunch period was scheduled to begin at 1:05 p.m. Ms. Richter has Type I diabetes and believed eating her lunch that late in the day would negatively impact her blood sugar levels. Accordingly, she asked her school’s principal, Gregg Desiderio, to allow her to eat her lunch earlier in the day.