Defense obtains a published New Jersey Appellate Division decision affirming that perception of having COVID-19 does not constitute perceived disability under NJLAD.
The New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed the dismissal our defense team obtained in a New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) perceived disability claim, alleging COVID-19 to be a disability under this statute. This employment discrimination claim involved a matter of first impression in New Jersey and established that COVID-19 infection, without more, does not constitute a disability under the NJLAD.
A former employee filed suit, asserting perceived disability discrimination under the NJLAD. The plaintiff alleged he was wrongfully terminated based upon his employer’s perception that he had COVID-19. We filed a motion to dismiss in lieu of an answer, asserting the complaint did not set forth a cause of action as COVID-19 is not a recognized disability under the NJLAD. The court granted our motion and agreed that COVID-19 is not a disability under the NJLAD and, therefore, could not be the predicate for a perceived discrimination case. The Appellate Division affirmed this decision, finding the plaintiff’s COVID-19-perceived disability claim failed to plead a viable cause of action under the NJLAD.