- Of Counsel
Are you a woman doing the same job as your male counterpart, but getting paid less to do it? If so, you may have a claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and/or the Federal Equal Pay Act (collectively referred to here as Equal Pay Act claims).
To prove an Equal Pay Act claim, you must establish that “unequal pay was given for the performance of work that is substantially equal to that performed by male employees.” Grigoletti v. Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation, 118 N.J. 89, 110 (1990). You need only establish that you are paid differentially with respect to a single male employee. So even if there are other male employees who make the same or less than you, you may still have a valid claim as long as one male employee who is doing substantially equal work is paid more than you. It also does not matter if there are female employees who are paid as much as the highest paid males. “The fact that one member of a protected group is not a victim of discrimination does not preclude others in the group from prevailing on a discrimination claim.” Grigololetti, supra at 109.
“For purposes of establishing a prima facie case, it is the jobs, and not the individuals who held the jobs, that the Court must compare.” Dubowsky, supra at 990, citing Mulhall v. Advance Sec., Inc., 19 F.3d 586, 592 (11th Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 919, 115 S.Ct. 298, 130 L.Ed.2d 212 (1994). “The main determining factor in the ‘substantial equality’ of the jobs is whether the jobs involve ‘a common core of tasks’.” Ibid. Factors to be considered include similar quality and quantity of production, education, relevant prior work experience, conduct and skill. Ibid., citing 29 C.F.R. §1620.13. “To prevail in an EPA action, the jobs must be ‘substantially equal’ in terms of skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions.” Id at 473.
“When a plaintiff establishes that she has performed substantially equal work for unequal pay, a strong inference of discrimination is created” under the EPA. Grigoletti v. Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp., 118 N.J. 89, 109 (1990). The burden then shifts to the employer to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the wage disparity is the result of one of four factors: (1) a seniority system; (2) a merit system; (3) a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or (4) a differential based on any factor other than sex.
Certain employees are exempt from the requirement to pay overtime wages for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week, but most employees are entitled to time and a half for all overtime hours worked. We can help you determine if your position is exempt or non-exempt under the wage and hour laws. Whether under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or the NJ State Wage and Hour Law, we are equipped to analyze your potential wage claim. The attorneys also handle claims under the NJ Prevailing Wage Act for employees who are engaged in public works projects.
Trishka Waterbury Cecil, Of Counsel with the Firm, will be speaking at the New Jersey State League of Municipalities (NJLM) Orientation seminars for Municipal Officials this month. This orientation is designed for municipal officials who are newly elected, re-elected, or experienced. It is fast paced and designed to quickly bring officials up-to-date on important municipal issues. Newly elected officials will get a thorough overview of their major areas of responsibility, key contacts at the State level, and important sources of information and assistance.
Trishka Waterbury Cecil, Of Counsel with the Firm, has completed her annual Year-End Law Review for 2020 (a/k/a the “Big Book”) which is now available for members on the New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys (NJILGA) website: https://www.njilga.org/. At a webinar presented on November 19, 2020 at the New Jersey State League of Municipalities Virtual Conference, Trishka (NJILGA Past President) and Steve Goodell (Treasurer), highlighted and discussed selected local government cases from the past year and entertained questions and comments from attendees.
Sharon Dragan, a Director with the Firm, has recently been elected to serve as Secretary for the NJ Institute of Local Government Attorneys in 2021. For more information about the NJILGA, see
Click Link Here to read important information regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.