New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination: Damages in Consideration of Unemployment Benefits
New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (the “LAD”) makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, age, nationality, gender, religion, sexual orientation and several other specifically protected groups. While this covers an array of relationship scenarios, it is often applied in the context of an employment relationship.
Any person who has been subjected to unlawful discrimination in employment may file a lawsuit under the LAD. The LAD specifically provides for remedies to include all those that are available in typical tort actions. A tort action is generally a civil action in which one person or entity sues another for some wrongful conduct which the actor committed in breach of some actual or implied duty to the other person or entity (other than by way of a breach of contract). These damages may involve a number of categories such as back (past lost) pay, front (future) pay, emotional distress, lost benefits, etc. The act also provides for punitive damages – meaning damages in addition to actual losses which are imposed to punish the wrongdoer for egregious and/or intentional acts, and deter future wrongful acts.
In virtually every employment discrimination case, the plaintiff is required to mitigate her losses. This means that an employee who has, for example, been fired because of a discriminatory purpose or motivation, must make reasonable efforts to find another job to reduce her damages.