In Cowher v. Carson & Roberts, the New Jersey Appellate Division was asked to consider whether a truck driver had standing to bring a discrimination case against his former employer after being the target of anti-Semitic remarks in the workplace, despite the fact that he was not Jewish. In deciding only whether the plaintiff had standing to bring suit given that he was not actually Jewish, and therefore not a member of the protected class at issue, the Court held reversed the lower courts dismissal of the action and held that the plaintiff did have standing to bring the action.
The Courts decision is significant because it expands the scope of who can bring a discrimination claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, by allowing a person to pursue a claim for discrimination based upon a protected characteristic not actually possessed by the person bringing the claim. This decision also shows just how broadly courts in New Jersey are willing to interpret New Jerseys anti-discrimination laws.
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