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Monday, June 25, 2018

Should NJ Employees Be Paid Equally for the Same Type Job?

Women, blacks and other minorities are sometimes paid less than other co-workers if their employment position has a different name even if they are doing substantially similar work to others who are paid at a higher rate. Starting July 1, 2018, New Jersey employers must pay women, blacks and other protected classes the same as their other employees in non-protected classes for substantially similar work when viewed as a composite of skill, effort and responsibility. The Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, which was signed into law on April 24, 2018 by Gov. Phil Murphy, takes effect July 1, 2018. This is the most aggressive equal pay law in the country. It protects women and minorities from pay disparity when their job title differs from non-protected classes who do substantially similar work.

Because this is a new equal pay law, how the courts may interpret language pertaining to certain requisites within the statute have not yet been tested. The language however of the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, which amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), gives in indication of what the New Jersey State Courts will likely consider when adjudicating these types of claims. It prohibits employee discrimination in wages on the basis of any “protected” class.

To qualify as a person who has standing to bring such a claim under the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, first, one must be a member of a protected class. The defined classes given protection under these amendments are the recognized classes under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD),  including but not limited to color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status,  race, creed, affectional or sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy or breastfeeding, sex, gender identity or expression, disability, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait of any individual, and liability for service in the armed forces.

The “Continuing Violations Doctrine” Still Applies to Discrimination Claims That Would Not Be Covered under the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act

The Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, although it takes effect July 1, 2018, is written as a prospective prohibition against such wage disparity and not as a retroactive statute. What this means is that as of July 1, 2018, NJ employers must abide by this statute. However, in terms of employees who bring claims of violations of this Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, they may only bring claims dating back to July 1, 2018, the date this Equal Pay Act takes effect. In other words, if a plaintiff files a claim under the  Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act on August 10, 2018, they may only recoup for economic losses due to pay disparity dating back only to July 1, 2018.

If you are an employee who believes you have been wronged for years because you suffered discrimination in wages because you are a member of a protected class, do not despair. Although under the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, you will not be able to recoup for such illegal disparate pay any farther back in time than July 1, 2018, you may still bring a discrimination claim under the NJLAD for losses due to pay disparity that were prior to July 1, 2018 pursuant to the Continuing Violations Doctrine.

This law office, Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law, is experienced and successful in bringing employment discrimination claims pursuant to the Continuing Violations Doctrine under the NJLAD and in recovering moneys for employees who are persons in a protected class, such as women and blacks.

What You Can Do

If you believe that your employer used race or some other prohibited factor such as sex, age etc., as the determining factor as to your pay, you should contact an experienced employment law attorney. I am an aggressive and compassionate employment law attorney who is experienced in representing women, older workers, the disabled and other minorities. I accept discrimination cases from all over New Jersey.

If you are being subjected to such unlawful workplace discrimination, contact Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law today for a free consultation.

New Jersey employment attorney, Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law serves clients throughout the state, including Bergen, Middlesex, Essex, Hudson, Monmouth, Ocean, Union, Camden, Passaic, and Morris Counties with locations in Southern, Central, Western and Northern NJ to meet with clients.



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