The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination prohibits all employers from discriminating in employment on the basis of race or color (NJ Rev. Stat. Sec. 10:5-1 et seq.). Under the state law, it is an unlawful employment practice to:
• Refuse to hire, discharge, or otherwise discriminate on the basis of race or color with respect to an individual's compensation or terms and conditions of employment;
• Retaliate against any individual who has made a complaint or assisted in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under the state law; or
• Publish an advertisement for employment indicating a preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination based on race or color.
The state law does provide that an employer may publish a job advertisement that expresses a preference on the basis of race or color if race or color is a BFOQ. However, the BFOQ exception for race or color is extremely rare (e.g., hiring actors to portray individuals of a certain race) and employers should be very cautious in relying on a BFOQ when making employment decisions. Employers may request an opinion from the Division on Civil Rights on whether a BFOQ exception applies to a particular job (NJ Admin. Code Sec. 13:11-1.5)