Understanding New Jersey’s Equal Pay Act

In early 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act into law. This Act amended the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination to provide further wage discrimination protection for women, racial minorities, and other legally protected classes.

The Act went into effect on July 1, 2018, becoming the most progressive piece of equal pay legislation in the United States. Now, New Jersey employees who have faced wage discrimination can pursue up to six years’ worth of back pay in compensation for their losses and freely ask their colleagues about their salaries without fear of retaliation for doing so. These are just two of the protections afforded by the New Jersey Equal Pay Act. You can learn more about it from an experienced employment lawyer.

Who is the Equal Pay Act For?

A significant aspect of the New Jersey Equal Pay Act is its new employee demographics reporting requirements for companies contracted to do work for the state government. This does not mean the Equal Pay Act was only enacted to protect state-contracted employees. The Act also contains language that applies to nearly all employees working in New Jersey. These include:

  • Employers may not require applicants or employees to sign agreements waiving their right to make compensation requests or disclosures as a condition of employment;
  • Employers may not make unauthorized inquiries about applicants’ previous salaries and benefits packages;
  • Employers may not retaliate against employees for disclosing their current or previous salaries to other employees;
  • Employers may not screen applicants based on their wage histories or determine wage amounts based on these histories; and
  • Employers may not pay specific employees or groups of employees different rates based on their membership in legally protected classes.

What Can I Do if my Right to a Fair Wage is Violated?

Keep every document you have related to the disparity and submit them to your employer’s Human Resources department. You may be able to resolve the issue this way. If you cannot resolve the issue internally, discuss your case with an experienced employment lawyer, who may advise you to file a wage discrimination claim with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR). The DCR may then investigate your claim and if it deems discrimination has occurred, it may facilitate a settlement to cover your losses or file a wage discrimination lawsuit on your behalf.

Work with an Experienced New Jersey Wage Discrimination Lawer

If you feel you have faced any type of wage discrimination, you have the right to contest your employer’s actions and pursue financial compensation for your related losses. To learn more about this right and your legal options as a New Jersey employee, schedule your initial legal consultation with a member of Sattiraju & Tharney, LLP now. We are one of New Jersey and New York’s premier employment law firms and will give your case the dedication and attention to detail it deserves.