NEW JERSEY REQUIRES EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK
On April 24, 2018, the New Jersey Legislature passed the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act (the “NJEPA”) to amend the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 to -49 (the “LAD”). The NJEPA renders it “an unlawful employment practice, or, as the case may be, an unlawful discrimination …[f]or 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.” N.J.S.A. 10:5-12(t). To come into compliance with the NJEPA, the employer may not reduce the rate of compensation of the higher compensated employee; it must increase the compensation paid to the individual being discriminated against.
For the purposes of the NJEPA, protected classes include race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, affectional or sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy, sex, gender identity or expression, disability, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, or service in the armed forces.
The NJEPA provides for a “lookback” window of six (6) years to determine the total amount of damages to which an aggrieved employee may be entitled to. Moreover, an aggrieved employee who prevails under the NJEPA is entitled to treble damages and an award of attorneys’ fees and costs.
If you believe you are being paid less than other workers in your workplace for equal or similar work, call Poulos LoPiccolo PC immediately at (732) 757-0165 to speak to one of our experienced employment attorneys about the potential legal claims that you may have.