In this space (and likely in others,) you’ve read discussion of many of the various forms of employment discrimination that exist. Some of them are fairly overt. If, for example, you discover an email where your supervisor says that you should be fired because pregnant employees are too costly for the company, then you have a straightforward case of pregnancy discrimination. Others are less direct and more subtle. For example, when employers ask a job candidate’s salary history, those employers often end up perpetuating the underpayment of employees who have been historically been underpaid in the past. In that way, these salary history questions help perpetuate the gender wage gap.
In other words, discrimination can come in many variations and shades. It doesn’t have to be something overt or obvious. If you think you’ve been harmed by discriminatory employment practices, you owe it to yourself to contact a knowledgeable New Jersey employment attorney.
When it comes to the troubles connected to salary history questions, that problem is about to become less common in New Jersey. Last year, Gov. Murphy signed into law a bill that banned salary history questions in all aspects of state government hiring. Now, the state has a law on the books that says that any employer who asks salary history questions has violated the law, nj.com has reported.
That bill, signed into law in late July, will take effect Jan. 1, 2020. Once the new law becomes effective, no employer in New Jersey can ask you about your current or past wages, commissions or benefits as you go through the hiring process. Employment candidates have the option to provide that information voluntarily if they choose, but the law prohibits employers from punishing candidates who refuse to volunteer that information.
The law also blocks employers from engaging in certain alternate tactics to get at your salary history information. For example, an employer cannot require that your pay history fall within certain ranges in terms of a maximum or a minimum.
When can an employer require me to provide my salary history?
Keep in mind, there actually is a point at which the employer can discover your salary history. Once the employer has made you an offer, the employer can ask for confirmation of your compensation history. In order to demand that, the employer must not only offer you the job, but also include compensation terms in the offer, in order to be entitled to any historical compensation information from a candidate.
New Jersey also has a law on the books that demands that employers provide workers with equal pay. So, even though employers can continue to demand salary history through the end of this year, they can already be liable under the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act if an employee can prove that the employer was impermissibly paying members of a protected group (such as women) less than members outside that group for “substantially similar work.” This allows women victimized by the gender wage gap to seek compensation in court.
There are lots of ways that employers can discriminate, and the law has banned many of them, whether they’re overt or covert. The law is broad enough that you may have a winning case in more situations than you might think. Don’t guess and don’t assume you have no case. Always contact an experienced lawyer and discuss your circumstances. The skilled New Jersey gender discrimination attorneys at Phillips & Associates are here to help with that. Contact us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation and to find out how our knowledgeable attorneys can help you.