Individual Employee Liability Under the Law Against Discrimination
Employers know that they can be liable for discrimination under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”), but many do not know that the LAD provides for individual liability for supervisors aiding and abetting discrimination.
The LAD states that it is unlawful “[f]or any person, whether an employer or an employee or not, to aid, abet, incite, compel or coerce the doing of any of the acts forbidden [under the LAD].” As such, an employer and supporting employees can be liable under the LAD.
To hold an individual employee liable under this provision of the LAD, a plaintiff must show that: 1) the defendant employee aided a party who performed a wrongful act, which caused injury; (2) the defendant employee was aware of his role in the overall activity when he provided the assistance; and (3) the defendant employee knowingly and substantially assisted the violation. To determine whether the defendant employee “substantially assisted” the principle violation, courts weigh five factors: 1) the nature of the act encouraged, (2) the amount of assistance given by the supervisor, (3) whether the supervisor was present at the time of the asserted harassment, (4) the supervisor's relations to the other, and (5) the state of mind of the supervisor.
The potential for individual claims against supervisors, makes it even more important for employers to train their employees regarding discrimination, and also to have a separate training geared to supervisors so that they understand the important accountability and other provisions of the LAD.
TAKEAWAY: Employers should review their records to ensure they are providing training for both staff and supervisors on discrimination.
The postings on this blog were created for general informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice or a solicitation to provide legal services. Although we attempt to ensure that the postings are complete, accurate, and current as of the time of publication, we assume no responsibility for their completeness, accuracy, or timeliness. The information in this blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional legal counsel.
This blog may contain links to independent third party websites and services, including social media. We provide these links for your convenience, and you access them at your own risk. We have no control over and do not monitor the content or policies (including privacy policies) of these third-party websites and have no responsibility for, and no liability with respect to, their content, accuracy, or reliability. Unless expressly stated, we do not endorse any of the linked websites or any product, service, or publication referenced herein or therein. We will remove a link to any site from this blog upon request of the linked entity.
We grant permission to readers to link to this blog so long as this blog is not misrepresented. This site is not sponsored or associated with any other site unless so identified.
If you wish for Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A., to consider representing you, please obtain contact information from the Contact Us area of this blog or go to the firm’s website at www.wilentz.com. One of our lawyers will be happy to discuss the possibility of representation with you. However, the authors of Wilentz blogs are licensed only in New Jersey and/or New York and do not wish to represent anyone who viewed this site in a state where the site fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that state.