NJ Court Holds Hostile Workplace Discrimination Can be Based on Erroneous Perception of Plaintiff’s Ethnicity

A New Jersey appellate court reinstated an employment discrimination lawsuit brought by a former employee against a company and two former supervisors who allegedly directed anti-Semitic comments against him for more than a year in the mistaken belief that he was Jewish. Cowher v. Carson & Roberts,  Docket No. A-4014-10T1  (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Aug. 18, 2012). A trial court had previously dismissed the plaintiff’s claims that he had been subjected to a hostile workplace environment in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”). In reversing that dismissal, the appellate court wrote that “if plaintiff can demonstrate that the discrimination that he claims to have experienced would not have occurred but for the perception that he was Jewish, his claim is covered by the LAD.”

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