New Jersey has a number of amendments to their equal pay and employment discrimination laws that are effective July 1st. Here are the major changes brought by Senate Bill 104 that you should know about!
- Each instance of discrimination is now considered an individual unlawful practice, rather than a bunch of instances being “bundled” into one complaint.
- The statute of limitations on back pay for an offense is now six years, and employers are prohibited from requiring workers to shorten or waive the statute of limitations for reporting an offense.
- Employers are also now prohibited from penalizing employees for–and otherwise preventing them from–discussing their wages and work terms with co-workers.
- Instances of unequal compensation can no longer be addressed by lowering the wages of an employee who has higher compensation.
- If a jury decides an employer has committed an unlawful employment practice, three times any monetary damage is now rewarded.
The factors that are allowed to be considered when determining justified rates of compensation have also been clarified. Wage differentials can only be based on elements such as training, education, experience, and quality/quantity of production. Characteristics of the “protected class”–which includes race, nationality, marital status, gender expression, sexual orientation, pregnancy, and disability–can not be taken into account.
For more details please read Senate Bill 104; and if you need any advice on the implementation of the amendments, please consult the New Jersey Department of Labor, and/or an employment lawyer.