Share

Current Events

Monday, July 9, 2018

Am I Doing Substantially Similar Work under New Jersey’s Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act?

New Jersey’s Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act takes effect on July 1, 2018. Employees who believe they are being paid less than their co-workers may wonder if they have a claim under this New Jersey law. The classes given protection under this new equal pay law are the recognized classes under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). The Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act makes it illegal for an employer to pay an employee in a protected class less wages than other workers who are not in a protected class for substantially similar work. This new law dramatically expands the wage discrimination protections given to NJ employees, not just for the same job or position or those holding the same job title, but additionally takes into context the character and skill of the job as a whole. There are no longer only protections for those holding the same job title or position; this new law is not just a prohibition against disparate pay for the same work, but also for substantially similar work when viewed as a composite.

What Is Substantially Similar Work?

This New Jersey law now makes it illegal:

"For an employer to pay any of its employees who is a member of a protected class at a rate of compensation, including benefits, which is less than the rate paid by the employer to employees who are not members of the protected class for substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort and responsibility."

Because it is a new statute, claims brought under the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act have not yet been litigated. However, language within the new statute gives indications of what the courts will likely consider in rendering decisions in these types of wage claims.  In deciding what is “substantially similar work” under this new law, the courts will likely consider some key language in the statue itself: “substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort and responsibility.”

To avoid liability under this new law, the employer must demonstrate that the differential is made pursuant to a seniority system, a merit system, or the employer can demonstrate that the differential in pay and compensation is based on one or more legitimate, bona fide factors other than the characteristics of members of the protected class, i.e. if the employer can demonstrate that the disparity in wages in not based on the employees' sex or race etc., but other factors such as:

  • Training
  • Education
  • Experience
  • the quantity of work
  • the quality of production

Courts will likely look at whether the higher paid non-protected workers and lower paid protected workers have substantially similar duties and responsibilities, whether the employees regularly supervise others, whether they themselves are regularly supervised, the amount of discretion and autonomy they are allowed in performing their job duties, the breadth of their decision-making responsibilities, if any exist. 

  • The language in the statute requires the employer to avoid liability to prove:
  • That each of the factors is applied reasonably;
  • That one or more of the factors account for the entire wage differential; and
  • That the factors are job-related with respect to the position in question and based on a legitimate business necessity. 

Employers May Not Escape Liability If There Are Alternative Business Practices

Language in the statute articulates that employers may not escape liability for discrimination if there are alternative business practices that would serve the same business purpose without producing the wage differential. The statute states:

"A factor based on business necessity shall not apply if it is demonstrated that there are alternative business practices that would serve the same business purpose without producing the wage differential."

This law office, Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law, is experienced and successful in bringing employment discrimination claims 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.

Archived Posts

2018
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2017
2016
December
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2015
2013
2012



© 2018 Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law | Disclaimer
466 Kinderkamack Road , Oradell , NJ 07649
| Phone: 201-599-9600

Employment/Civil Rights Law | Disability Law | Employee Performance Evaluations | Family Law | Divorce Mediation Services | Wills and Estate Planning | School Law and Educational Rights | Municipal Court Appearances | General Practice | | Family Law Practice | Employment Law Practice

Attorney Website Design by
Zola Creative