The New Jersey Equal Pay Act (NJEPA) prohibits employers from determining how much employees are compensated based on their sex and requires that pay be based on characteristics such as experience, seniority, and merit.
Specifically, the NJEPA focuses on discriminatory pay practices and mandates that men and women receive equal pay for equal jobs. NJEPA applies not only to salaries but also to other compensation, such as benefits, and to terms of employment.
The NJEPA can apply in a wide range of situations. For example, the law prohibits paying a female employee less than male employees who perform the substantially the same job. It also precludes providing health insurance only to female employees and not to male employees in similar positions. In both examples, the NJEPA likely applies, and the law can be used to protect both men and women.
In addition to prohibiting disparate payment practices, the NJEPA also requires that employers comply with special posting and notice requirements. Employers are required to inform their employees of their right to gender equality in pay, compensation, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment. Specifically, an employer must post a notice of the law in a place that is accessible to all employees. If the employer has an employee website or web portal, by posting the notice there may satisfy the requirement . Employers must provide written copies of the notice annually to each employee as well as provide a copy of the notice up on an employee’s request. These notice requirements only apply to employers who have 50 or more employees.
If an employee believes that his or her employer has violated the NJEPA, he or she may choose to file a lawsuit. To bring a successful claim under the NJEPA, a discrimination victim must show that the work he or she performed was substantially similar to the work performed by members of the opposite sex and that he or she was compensated differently than members of the opposite sex. Once these elements are proven, the employer can escape liability only by proving that the difference in pay was the result of something other than the employees’ genders. The court will evaluate whether the employer’s justification is valid or merely a cover for gender discrimination.
If the court finds in favor of a discrimination victim, several remedies may be available, including monetary damages for lost wages, front pay, back pay, and other compensatory damages. If the employer’s conduct is determined to be exceptionally egregious, the plaintiff may also be awarded punitive damages.
If you suspect that you are not being compensated fairly for your job simply because of your sex, consult with an experienced employment attorney. A lawyer who is knowledgeable about employment law can help you to better understand your rights and how you can protect yourself. If your compensation is the product of illegal sex discrimination, your attorney can help you to file suit to secure your fair and equal compensation.