New Jersey Supreme Court Rules Religious Employers Are Exempt From The State’s Anti-Discriminations Laws

In a huge win for religious employers in the state, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled today that the state’s anti-discrimination laws do not apply when they conflict with the employer’s religious beliefs.

Today’s decision caps a 9-year saga involving a Catholic school whom fired an unmarried teacher for getting pregnant – a violation of the school’s policy, based on their religion.

The teacher then filed a lawsuit claiming that her termination was illegal because the state Law Against Discrimination lists marital status and pregnancy as specially protected classes.

However, in an unanimous decision, the court dismissed the lawsuit today and noted in their opinion that “for a religious entity to follow the tenets of its faith “in establishing and utilizing criteria for employment” — is an affirmative defense available to a religious entity when confronted with a claim of employment discrimination.”

A lower court had earlier dismissed the case but it was reinstated on appeal.

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  1. While this is a huge victory, it is not as big a victory as it should have been.
    The state still requires non discrimination statements for anything that recorded state funding.

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