We had the question arise recently whether nepotism in hiring into a public sector job violates the Law Against Discrimination. The New Jersey Supreme Court decided the issue in the negative in 2005. The case is Bumbaca v. Township of Edison, and the court held that the LAD's prohibition against discrimination on the basis of “familial status” does not prohibit nepotism. The court noted that federal courts have reached the same result under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The basis of the decision was simple statutory interpretation. In effect, the court held, if the Legislature had meant to address nepotism, it would have said so.
The court did “not endorse nepotism to the extent that it promotes hiring on a basis other than merit, [but] the practice is clearly not prohibited by the LAD . . ..”
Similarly, the court found that there is no public policy against nepotism in NJ.
Maybe this is a decision that the Legislature should re-think.