In recent days, the gender pay gap has been in the headlines with increasing frequency. One of the most nefarious ways to perpetrate gender discrimination, while still maintaining the appearance of objectivity, is to base an employee’s earnings on what she made in her previous jobs. That practice is soon to be illegal in New Jersey. Earlier this year, Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order banning the practice of basing pay on salary history in all state government jobs. Now, the governor has indicated his intent to sign a bill that goes beyond just addressing gender pay equity issues and will stand as one of the most powerful pay equity laws anywhere, protecting workers within a multitude of protected groups, according to an nj.com report.
The issue of pay equity has been an important one to the New Jersey legislature for some time. Both houses had passed previous bills requiring pay equity, but the previous governor vetoed those bills. This session, the legislature passed Senate Bill 104, which the governor indicated on Equal Pay Day that he would sign in late April, nj.com reported.
One of the bill’s sponsors stated in the nj.com report that, once SB104 becomes law, New Jersey will have “the most rigorous protections against pay discrimination.” This pending New Jersey employment discrimination law makes it an illegal employment practice under the Law Against Discrimination to provide a worker who is a member of a protected class with lower pay or lesser benefits when that worker is performing work that is commensurate with higher-paid employees who are not members of any protected classes.
This means that the LAD will prohibit paying a woman less than a man when the two are performing approximately equal work, and it means that employers must provide pay equity between employees with disabilities and employees without disabilities, pay equity between white employees and employees of color, and pay equity among workers of various religions, between immigrants and native-born workers, and between heterosexual and gay/lesbian workers. Membership in any of the protected classes already included under the terms of the LAD now serves as the basis of an obligation to provide pay equity if the workers are doing “substantially similar work.”
Under the new law, a worker who believes that she is not receiving pay equity could bring an LAD lawsuit against her employer. She would, in order to prove her case, need to show that a pay gap existed and that she and the worker(s) to whom she was comparing herself all performed substantially similar tasks in their jobs. It would then be the responsibility of the employer to demonstrate to a judge that a legally viable distinction existed, such as educational attainment or professional experience.
If you have suffered from discrimination at work, you should know that the law is changing and is frequently changing to offer broader protections to victimized workers. Talk to the knowledgeable New Jersey sex discrimination attorneys at Phillips & Associates about your situation. Our team has spent many years staying up-to-date on all of the changes in the law and working diligently to protect the rights of our clients. Reach us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation and to find out how we can help you.
More blog posts:
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination: What It Means for You as a Worker in the Garden State, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, March 23, 2018
New Jersey Governor Signs Law Prohibiting Salary History Inquiries in State Employee Hiring, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, March 13, 2018