Officials: NJ Contractor is Refusing to Serve Jewish Customers
A New Jersey worker has been called out by top law enforcement officials for publicly stating that he would not provide services to prospective clients who are Jewish.
According to Attorney General Matthew Platkin, a Notice of Violation has been issued against a man who, on at least three occasions, advertised his services on online platforms but stated that he would not work with Jewish patrons.
The flagged content was posted on the gig economy website TaskRabbit, and on other platforms, officials said.
"Anyone who discriminates others based on religion, national origin, ancestry, or race is breaking the law in New Jersey," Platkin said. "There is no justification for denying services to members of the public based on antisemitism, Islamophobia, or any other kind of discrimination, and we are committed to holding anyone who engages in discriminatory practices responsible.
Melquisedec Francis — who is based in Paterson, according to his LinkedIn profile — began posting the advertisements in October, according to officials.
In one post from Oct. 24, in response to online critics, Francis noted that he is expressing his solidarity with Palestinian people "until the war in Gaza is resolved."
"And as a result, I am currently not offering my services to the Jewish Community," Francis wrote. "That being side, if I have, in some way, shape or form, offended you, your country, or your people, my dear Jewish Community, that was and is not my intention."
The advertisements that mention the exclusion of Jewish customers violate the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, according to officials. The law "prohibits places of public accommodations from discriminating" on protected characteristics such as religion and race.
With the Notice of Violation, Francis must do the following:
⚫ Cease and Desist from posting communications that express limitations on the basis of protected characteristics
⚫ Cease and Desist from discrimination against patrons
⚫ Adopt a written policy pertaining to nondiscrimination
⚫ Publish a nondiscrimination statement on the bottom of all advertisements posted online for the next year
⚫ On all platforms where he previously posted about limitations, publish communications stating that he will provide services in accordance with New Jersey's law
⚫ Attend trainings on discrimination, implicit bias, and "microaggressions"
⚫ Remit a payment in lieu of penalty to the Division on Civil Rights.
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