N.J. Governor Signs Sweeping Pay Equity Bill Requiring Employers to Justify Pay Differences Between “Substantially Similar” Jobs, or Face the Consequences

On April 24, 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, a sweeping revision to New Jersey’s already broad Law Against Discrimination.  While few would argue against the important goal of ending wage discrimination, the new law, which becomes effective on July 1, 2018 and which applies to every employer with any employees in New Jersey, will create enormous difficulties for employers.  The law, which goes far beyond gender pay equity and applies to every protected classification in New Jersey, will presume that any member of a protected class who is paid less for “substantially similar work” as a compared to employees outside of that particular protected class is the victim of discrimination and eligible to receive triple the difference going back for a period of up to 6 years, as well as attorneys’ fees, pain and suffering and all of the other damages already available under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.  To avoid this result, employers will be responsible for proving, based on a complicated set of criteria contained in the statute, that the entire pay difference was based on factors other than the employee’s membership in the protected class.  For a much more in-depth discussion of this new law, and what employers must do to prepare, take a look at Archer’s Client Alert available at the following link: https://www.archerlaw.com/n-j-governor-signs-sweeping-pay-equity-bill-requiring-employers-to-justify-pay-differences-between-substantially-similar-jobs-or-face-the-consequences/