NJ Senate Bill 992-Important Protections for Women in the Workplace
The N.J. legislature sent Senate Bill 992
to Governor Christie for adoption. S. 992 amends the N.J. Law Against Discrimination (LAD) making wage disparities amongst similarly situated employees expressly unlawful. The Bill imposes treble damages upon any employer found to be in violation and further, expands the statute of limitations to restart with every instance, expanding the two (2) year statute of limitations established by the federal Lily Ledbetter Law. While the federal Equal Pay Act also provides for these protections, it does not expand the statute of limitations or provide the other protections that S. 992 does.
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.
Gov. Christie vetoed S. 992 on May 2, 2016 saying that it was not friendly to businesses and that there was no reason to further legislate this issue. NJ.com
It has been 53 years since the passage of the Equal Pay Act and White women are still only making $0.70-$0.80 for every dollar earned by a White male. African American and Hispanic women make even less. There is also a clear pay disparity between wages earned by White men and Hispanic or African American men. See article in NJ.com
. The Bill sponsored by Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) provided the much needed teeth to this law to “encourage” companies to do the right thing and pay their women and minority employees fairly.
S. 992 is finally THE LAW that will make businesses do the right thing where the current law and society has failed to convince them of the virtues of equal pay for all of their workers.
Gov. Christie’s veto can be overturned by a vote of 2/3rds of the legislature.
So, for yourself, and your mothers, sisters and daughters, its time to speak up!