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The Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act Explained: March 2020 Guidelines Provide Explanation of Purpose and Application

By: Cristina N. Hyde, JD

Last July, the New Jersey Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act (the Act) effectively expanded protections against pay discrimination and retaliation under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). Almost a year later, the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights (DCR) has published guidance intended to offer clarification and assistance with compliance and implementation.

Generally speaking, the guidance provides an overview of the Act and includes a “Q&A” section providing insight into the Act’s interpretation, thus far.  In doing so it clarifies how the Act affected the existing LAD and provides valuable information regarding the obligations and rights of employers and employees, alike.

According to the guidance, the Equal Pay Act is distinguished from the NJLAD in several important ways.

  • Where the NJLAD required equal pay for equal work, the Act “prohibits an employer from paying an employee who is a member of an LAD-protected class less than what it pays an employee who is not a member of that LAD-protected class for substantially similar work.”
  • The Act expands activities that are protected from employer retaliation to a broader range of conduct. For example, speaking to an attorney about one’s rights related to a possible claim under the NJLAD is now a protected act.
  • The Act expands the remedies for pay discrimination. Among the expanded remedies is a provision for a six-year “look-back period,” for the recovery of back pay, the codification of the common law holding that a violation occurs each time an individual is affected by a discriminatory decision or practice, and an allowance for treble damages.

Whether you believe you have been the subject of discrimination or harassment on the job, or if you would like assistance with reporting requirements or evaluating your business’ records to prevent possible pay disparity claims, we are able to help.   Do not hesitate to Contact Us.

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