On September 21, 2012, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law a statute, N.J. State Assembly Bill No. A2647, N.J. State Senate Bill S1930, requiring New Jersey employers with 50 or more employees to post in the workplace and to provide notices of workers’ rights “to be free of gender inequity or bias in pay, compensation, benefits, or other terms or conditions of employment” under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A. §§ 10:5-1 – 10:5-30 (the “NJLAD”), the New Jersey Equal Pay Act of 1952, as amended, N.J.S.A. §§ 34:11-56.1 – 34:11-56.12 (the “New Jersey Equal Pay Act” or “NJEPA”), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq. (“Title VII”), and the Equal Pay Act of 1963, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d) (the “EPA”).
The new statutory provision, which is codified as a new section of the New Jersey Equal Pay Act, N.J.S.A. § 34:11-56.12, takes effect on November 21, 2012.
Even before the enactment of the new law, employers in New Jersey were required to post, in the workplace, equal employment opportunity (“EEO”) notices under Title VII and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e–10; N.J.A.C. § 13:8-1.2. The federal EEO poster and the NJLAD poster already proclaim that is unlawful to discriminate against applicants or employees on the basis of sex in the payment of wages or in other terms or conditions of employment. Nevertheless, the new legislation makes businesses in New Jersey post another notice of, and give written notification to workers of, workers’ federal and state rights to gender equity in compensation.
The New Jersey Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development will issue the form of the notice and will make translations available in Spanish and in any other language the Commissioner determines is warranted. N.J.S.A. § 34:11-56.12(1)(c). An employer must post and provide notice in English, Spanish, and any other language made available by the Commissioner which the employer “reasonably believes is the first language of a significant number of the employer’s workforce.” Id. § 34:11-56.12(1)(c).
In addition to posting the newly mandated notice in an accessible area in the workplace, an employer must give workers a written copy of the notice (i) not more than 30 days after the Commissioner issues the notice, (ii) at the time the worker is hired, if the worker is hired after the Commissioner issues the notice, (iii) each year, on or before December 31, and (iv) at any time, upon the worker’s first request. N.J.S.A. § 34:11-56.12(1)(b).
Each worker must sign an acknowledgment, either in writing or by means of electronic verification, that the worker has received and read the written notice required by the new law and that he or she understands its terms. The worker must sign the acknowledgment and return it to the employer within 30 days after receiving it. N.J.S.A. § 34:11-56.12(1)(b).
If your company needs assistance or guidance on a labor or employment law issue and your company is located in the New York City area, call Attorney David S. Rich at (212) 209-3972.