New Jersey Adds Protections for Employees Who Breastfeed

January 10, 2018 Labor & Employment Alert

New Jersey has expanded the protections afforded under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination to require accommodations for women who breastfeed. On Jan. 8, Gov. Chris Christie signed an amendment to the LAD that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of breastfeeding or expressing breast milk during work breaks.

In light of these expanded protections, which are in effect now, employers in New Jersey should reexamine their employment handbooks, policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the LAD.

The new law amends the LAD in the following ways:

Break Time
In the case of an employee who is breastfeeding her infant child, the law requires an employer to provide reasonable break time each day for the employee to breastfeed or express milk.

Suitable Location
An employer is further required to provide a suitable location with privacy, other than a toilet stall, where the employee can express milk. The location must be in close proximity to the employee’s work area.

An employer must accommodate employees who are breastfeeding unless the employer can demonstrate that providing the accommodations would pose an undue hardship on its business operations.

Prior to this recent amendment, nursing mothers who are non-exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act  were already afforded protection. Like the LAD, the FLSA requires employers to provide nursing mothers who are non-exempt employees reasonable break time to express milk and a suitable place for doing so. Notably, under the FLSA, employers are required to provide the accommodations for up to one year after the child’s birth.  However, the LAD includes no durational limit and protections could extend beyond one year after the child’s birth. The LAD requirements also now apply to employees who are exempt from overtime under the FLSA.

For more information about this alert or if you have any questions or concerns, please contact Micah Craft at 973.548.3310 or [email protected] or any member of Fox Rothschild’s Labor & Employment Department.