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Employment Law Notebook

Equal Pay Law Gets the Green Light in New Jersey

Trenton, NJ. New Jersey working women earning less than their male colleagues will soon have significant new legal rights under the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, which Governor Phil Murphy signed today.  The law, which goes into effect July 1, amends the state’s discrimination law to prohibit New Jersey employers from paying less compensation and benefits to women who are performing substantially similar work as men.  It allows affected women to obtain relief for up to six years of back pay totaling three times their total damages.

The new law will allow an employer to pay men and women doing substantially the same work differently only if the following exceptions are met:

  • The different rates are paid due to a seniority system, merit system, or
  • The different rates are based on distinctions in training, education, experience or other legitimate (yet undefined) factors; and
  • The factor are not based on sex-based differential treatment and are applied reasonably; and
  • The factors are job-related and based on business necessity and there are no other ways to accomplish that business purpose without paying different wages.

There is some good news for the men: If the employer learns that it is violating the Act, it cannot lower the male employee’s salary to match the female employee’s salary to comply with the law.

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