Women Still Make Less than Men
The pay disparity between men and women in New Jersey and across the country has been evident for decades. New Jersey female workers received only 69 percent of the salary men were paid, according to the U.S. Census Bureau 2014 American Community Survey. Frankly, there is no reason a woman in New Jersey should earn less than a man for the same work.
Luckily, paying a woman less than a man for substantially similar work is wrong and unlawful. McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C.’s experienced employment lawyers can help recover the wages you rightfully deserve.
The New Jersey Equal Pay Act
The New Jersey Equal Pay Act (EPA), also known as the New Jersey Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) to account for discrimination in the rate or method of payment of wages to an employee based on his or her sex. The Act bans employers from paying women less than men for substantially similar work. The State law further protect employees by allowing victims of discrimination to receive up to six years’ worth of back pay.
New Amendment Provides Additional Protections for New Jersey Employees
The New Jersey Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act (EPA), signed by Governor Phil Murphy in 2018, provides comprehensive protections for NJ employees against wage discrimination, also called pay discrimination. Under guidelines from the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights, the EPA makes it unlawful for employers to engage in discriminatory pay practices or retaliate against employees who complain about wages.
Under the new laws, employers are also prohibited from requiring employees to waive their right to not disclose pay history information and retaliating against employees who discuss pay equity with legal counsel, a government entity or other employees. The statute of limitations is six years, however back pay will be available for the entire period of continuing violations that occurred during the six-year limitation.
Each occasion of discriminatory practices concerning wages, benefits or other compensation that affects an individual constitutes a separate violation. Employees or applicants will also be entitled to treble damages (triple the amount of compensatory damages) in situations where the employer violated the equal pay or non-retaliation provisions of the bill.
Wage Discrimination Protections For Employers Under The New Jersey Equal Pay Act
The NJ EPA’s advantage is that an employee only needs to show that they were paid less than one other employee doing similar work. In order to make a claim of pay discrimination under the NJ EPA, employees will have to show that:
- The work done by both employees was substantially similar. Responsibilities, not job titles, are what matters here; and
- They are a covered employee under the New Jersey EPA.
Who Is Covered By The New Jersey Equal Pay Act?
The EPA applies to nearly all employees in New Jersey, including full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal workers. There is no minimum employee count necessary to qualify, and the business does not need to be based in New Jersey, as long as there are employees with a primary place of work in New Jersey.
In addition to women, the New Jersey Equal Pay Act applies to all members of the same protected classes as the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), making it illegal to discriminate against employees based on:
- Sexual Orientation (LGBT)
- Marital Status
- National Origin
Please note that the EPA does not apply to federal employers, federal employees, or independent contractors.
In addition to State law, the Federal Equal Pay Act (EPA) requires that male and female employees are given equal pay for equal work. Although the law protects both sexes, violations almost always arise from a woman being paid less than her male counterpart.
The EPA covers all types of employment compensation including salary, overtime pay, commission rates, bonuses, vacation and holiday pay, pensions, insurance benefits, and other privileges such as use of company equipment. Other laws that prohibit pay disparity include Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 amended federal equal pay laws. Prior to the Act, claimants were limited to a narrow 180-day time period for which to file an employment discrimination complaint concerning compensation. The Act extended that time frame and also allows victims of wage discrimination to recover back pay of up to two years before the charge was filed.
Protect Your Career Today
Employees suspecting wage discrimination should consult an experienced and reputable employment lawyer as soon as possible. Equal Pay Act claims can be difficult to win without the assistance of qualified legal counsel. Moreover, a lawyer can help to determine if the employer violated any other federal or state laws that could result in additional remuneration for the affected employee.
From our offices in Red Bank, NJ, Newark, NJ, and Marlton, NJ, we represent victims of wage discrimination or other Equal Pay Act violations throughout the state. At McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C., our discrimination attorneys will provide you with a clear and candid evaluation of any potential claims, as well as all legal options available to you. Contact us today for a free consultation.