The EEOC is amending its EEO-1 form (the Employer Information Report) to include questions about pay ranges and hours worked by employees. This data will reveal patterns or trends in pay disparities. The current EEO-1 Form provides information on workforce profiles such as race, gender, ethnicity and job category but doesn’t seek information on pay ranges or hours worked. The new EEO-1 Form will go into effect in September 2017. EEOC Press Release (1/29/2016)
This tracking mechanism together with the proposed changes in the N.J. Law Against Discrimination (LAD) are represent giant strides towards eliminating gender pay disparities in the workplace. The proposed changes to the LAD as vetoed by Gov. Christie are slowly being made the law by the New Jersey Supreme Court.
On June 15, 2016, the NJ Supreme Court ruled that it is unlawful for an employer to require an employee to agree to a shortened statute of limitations period in an employment agreement. Rodriguez v. Raymours Furniture
. This was one of the changes proposed in Senate Bill 992 vetoed by Gov. Christie. S. 992 also protects employees from retaliation if they disclose their pay levels to other employees and specifically makes it unlawful to require employees to sign a document shortening the statute of limitations for LAD and equal pay claims or to waive the protections of the Law Against Discrimination as a condition of their employment. Hopefully the NJ Supreme Court will rule in accordance with these proposed changes establishing precedent where the Governor wouldn’t make new law.
Irrespective of the mechanism, the current federal and NJ trend is to pay special attention to the gender pay disparities. EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang said “More than 50 years after pay discrimination became illegal it remains a persistent problem for too many Americans. Collecting data is a significant step forward in addressing discriminatory pay practices. This information will assist employers in evaluating their pay practices to prevent pay discrimination and strengthen enforcement of our federal anti-discrimination laws.”
It is imperative that NJ businesses begin to analyze their own statistics now to avoid enforcement penalties down the line.