According to a recent a recent 3-0 decision from The Appellate Division of New Jersey Superior Court, one needn’t be Jewish to sue for anti-semitic discrimination. The suit in question was brought by a certain Myron Cowher, of German-Irish and Lutheran descent, against Carson and Roberts Site Construction and Engineering Inc., charging that he endured a year’s worth of anti-semitic slurs resulting in a hostile work environment. Reversing a previous decision, the court ruled that Cohwer’s not being Jewish was not relevant to the anti-semitism charge, as the “proper question” is not the actual identity of the plaintiff but what effects the alleged discrimination would have on “a reasonable Jew.”
From a JTA report:
Experts say the ruling will expand the scope of who can sue for discrimination under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination by allowing anyone, not just a member of the protected class, to pursue the claim. This significantly broadens the interpretation of the law, which typically has protected people based on their actual age, race, religion or sexuality.
Gregg Salka, an associate at Fisher & Phillips law firm who works with small-business clients, told The Star-Ledger newspaper that Anyone can pretty much bring a claim, even if theyre not a member of a protected class. It moves the focus more towards the discriminatory comments rather than the actual characteristic of the plaintiff.