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Pay Equity Litigation

The EEOC recently reported here that it filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania against a company operating in Pennsylvania. The suit alleged that the company violated the federal Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by paying female sales support staff less than males holding that same position, despite both male and female staff performing substantially equal work.  The EEOC commented that “ensuring equal pay protections for all workers is of one of six national priorities  identified by the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan.”

This recent lawsuit serves a reminder for New Jersey employers about the State’s Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act (“Act”), which became effective July 1, 2018.  We posted about it here.  The Act amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD)  and requires (with very limited exceptions) pay equity among those employees who perform “substantially similar work.”  As an amendment to the LAD, this law has broad application, applying not only to gender, but also to all protected classes under the LAD.  Remember that the potential exposure for employers found to violate the Act can be significant.  As this Act became effective over two months ago, employers need to take action now, if they have not already done so, to review their compensation scales, polices, and procedures to ensure compliance.

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