New Jersey Passes New Equal Pay Legislation

By Kelsey Basten

Published on April 17, 2018

On March 27, 2018, New Jersey became one of the first states to pass an equal pay law that goes beyond gender. The new law covers all classes of employees protected under the state’s anti-discrimination law and takes effect on July 1, 2018.

The new law makes it illegal for an employer to “pay any of its employees who is a member of a protected class at a rate of compensation, including benefits, which is less than the rate paid by the employer to employees who are not members of the protected class for substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort and responsibility.”

Furthermore, the law states different rates of compensation will be allowed only if the employer demonstrates:

  • The difference is based on one or more facts other than the characteristics of the members of the protected class, such as:
    • Training
    • Education
    • Experience
    • Quantity or quality of production
  • The factors stated above are not based on sex or any other characteristic of the protected classes
  • Each factor is applied reasonably
  • One or more factors are applicable
  • The factors are job-related and based on a business necessity, where there is no alternative practice that would serve the same purpose without producing the wage difference

The protected employee categories include:

  • Race
  • Creed
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Nationality
  • Ancestry
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Civil union status
  • Domestic partnership status
  • Affectional or sexual orientation
  • Genetic information
  • Pregnancy
  • Sex
  • Gender identity or expression
  • Disability or atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait of any individual
  • Liability for service in the armed forces

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