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New Jersey Officials Charge Contractor for Refusing Services to Jewish Customers

State officials issued a Notice of Violation against a freelance “gig economy” worker in North Jersey, who said he would not be taking business from Jewish customers in multiple online posts.

Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin’s office said that Melquisedec Francis, who advertised his services as a contractor on Taskrabbit and other project help platforms, violated the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) by refusing service to Jewish patrons. The Division on Civil Rights issued a Notice of Violation against him on Thursday, which outlines eight conditions he must fulfill to be in compliance with state law.

Francis is a Paterson resident, according to his LinkedIn profile. In an Oct. 23 post reviewed by Patch, Francis wrote he was “currently not offering my services to the Jewish Community” including his clients in North Jersey and New York City.

Francis said it was an expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people amid the war in Gaza, and that he was being “attacked” for his position by other users. He reiterated his refusal to confirm job requests from Jewish clients in a subsequent LinkedIn post.

“Until the war in Gaza comes to a conclusion, I wont confirm job request (sic) from the Jewish Community,” he wrote.

Taskrabbit indicated on Oct. 24 that it had deactivated Francis’ account, writing that they were “made aware of a discriminatory comment” written by a user.

“We want to reiterate that Taskrabbit does not condone discrimination of any kind, including antisemitism, on our platform,” the company wrote. “We immediately took action to ensure Taskrabbit remains a safe place for all users.”

The state’s Notice of Violation requires Francis to cease and desist from discriminating against patrons, adopt a written nondiscrimination policy that is consistent with the NJLAD, and publish communications stating he will provide services in accordance with state law “ on all active platforms where he previously posted communications limiting the availability of services to Jewish patrons.”

These conditions also include training on antisemitism, implicit bias, and how state law against discrimination applies in places of public accommodation.

“Anyone who discriminates against others based on religion, national origin, ancestry, or race is breaking the law in New Jersey,” said Platkin. “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 accountable.”

Source: https://patch.com/new-jersey/wayne/nj-gig-worker-who-excluded-jewish-clients-issued-violation-notice-ag