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What do the New Coronavirus Discrimination Guidelines Mean for Employers and Employees?

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The COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly affecting all facets of life for New Jerseyians, people are nervous, and everyone is reacting differently to the impact of the virus. Unfortunately, this has resulted in some people being discriminated against in their places of work. There have already been reports of harassment and discrimination that NJ officials believe are directly related to the Coronavirus. New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal released a memo pertaining to COVID-19-based discrimination last week.

Who Is Protected? 

Attorney General Grewal stated that New Jersey has guidelines in place to protect anyone who is being discriminated against due to the pandemic, whether they have tested positive for the virus or are exhibiting possible symptoms. He added that employees of east Asian heritage are more likely to be perceived as carriers of the virus and therefore must be protected from discrimination.

Employers were also advised to take prompt action if an employee is being harassed by their coworkers because of the virus. East-Asian employees have been harassed by those who think that they caused or contributed to the spread of the illness. The Attorney General advised that this is unacceptable workplace behavior. Even something that may seem subtle, such as referring to COVID-19 as a “Chinese Disease” can constitute workplace discrimination. Employers who are aware of something like this in their workplace but fail to take reasonable legal action against workplace bullies may be in violation of New Jersey’s anti-discrimination laws, Attorney General Grewal advised.  

COVID-19 is changing the country in many ways, and special considerations must be made concerning harassment because of the virus. If you believe you or someone you know is being discriminated against and would like to talk with a workplace discrimination attorney in Camden County, NJ, reach out to the experts at The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, PC today.