A 2012 law amending the New Jersey Equal Pay Act requires employers with at least fifty employees to provide official notice to workers of their rights regarding gender equity under state and federal anti-discrimination and pay equity statutes. The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) published final notice forms on January 6, 2014. Under the thirty-day deadline established by the 2012 law, employers had until February 5 to provide the notice to all current employees. The 2012 law does not identify a penalty for failing to meet this deadline, and the NJDOL has not stated how it will handle noncompliance. Penalties for similar regulatory infractions might offer some idea of what employers might face.
The New Jersey Assembly passed A2647, which “[r]equires employers [to] post notice of worker rights under certain State and federal laws,” on June 25, 2012, and the governor signed it into law on September 19, 2012. It did not provide a specific date for employers to comply with its requirements, but rather set a deadline of thirty days after publication of final notice forms by the NJDOL. This took place on January 6, 2014, making the initial deadline February 5. For employees hired after that date, employers must provide the notice by the end of the calendar year in which an employee was hired.
The official notice form published by the NJDOL, entitled “Right to be Free of Gender Inequity or Bias in Pay, Compensation, Benefits or Other Terms and Conditions of Employment,” outlines workers’ rights under two federal statutes and two New Jersey statutes:
– Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal statute prohibiting discrimination in employment based on a number of different factors, including sex or gender. This includes discrimination in hiring, firing, layoffs, promotions, job duties, shift assignments, benefits, and other features of employment. A worker’s remedies might include compensatory and punitive damages, back pay, and injunctive relief prohibiting further discrimination or other unlawful acts.
– The federal Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits employers from discriminating based on sex with regard to compensation, including wages, salary, and benefits. The law allows workers to recover the balance of the compensation they are owed, plus liquidated damages in an equal amount.
– The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination protects workers from discrimination based on sex and other factors, similar to Title VII.
– The New Jersey Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from discriminating in the amount or method of payment of compensation based on sex.
The notice also instructs workers how to contact the government agencies that handle discrimination and pay equity complaints, including the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights.
The 2012 law identifies multiple methods by which employers may provide the notice to their employees. NJ Rev. Stat. § 34:11-56.12. The written notice includes an acknowledgment that employees must sign, indicating receipt of the notice and understanding of its contents. Employers may deliver the notice by email; in printed form included with employee paychecks or company manuals; as a flyer distributed to each employee individually; or via the internet or a company intranet, provided all employees may access it.
If you need to speak to an employment attorney in New Jersey or New York regarding gender discrimination or other unlawful employment practices, please contact the Resnick Law Group online, at 973-781-1204, or at (646) 867-7997.
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Jury Award Reminds Employers in New Jersey and Across the U.S. that Race Discrimination is Illegal, The New Jersey Employment Law Firm Blog, January 16, 2014
Lawsuit Demonstrates that Workers in New Jersey and Elsewhere May Not be Sexually Harassed for Failing to Conform to Gender Stereotypes, The New Jersey Employment Law Firm Blog, January 10, 2014