- 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.
Elizabeth Zuckerman, Esq. will be conducting a virtual course on October 13, 2020 - Know Your Rights as an Employee. Topics include harassment, hostile work environment and discrimination on the basis of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability and other protected statuses. The concept of reasonable accommodation and the interactive process will be explored. There will be discussion regarding the New Jersey whistle-blower law, wage and hour laws, family leave laws, non-compete agreements, new employee protections as a result of COVID-19 and common law claims, such as breach of contract and intentional infliction of emotional distress. In addition, hypothetical employment claims based on real life employment experiences will be discussed. Register at https://www.ssreg.com/princeton/classes/results.asp?code=120.
Edwin W. Schmierer, Esq., a firm Director, will be an instructor for the New Jersey Planning Official’s Planning and Zoning Board members training session in Somerset County on October 3, 2020. Mr. Schmierer chairs the firm’s Government Practice Group and represents a number of land use boards including the Lawrence Township Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Adjustment, Borough of Pennington Joint Planning and Zoning Board of Adjustment and the West Windsor Zoning Board of Adjustment. The New Jersey Planning Officials can be reached at [email protected] for any land use board member interested in attending the training session.
Click Link Here to read important information regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
In a recent decision (Justin Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings, Inc.), the New Jersey Supreme Court determined that an employee who is fired for using medical marijuana outside the workplace may bring a claim for disability discrimination under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Mason, Griffin & Pierson Attorney, Elizabeth Zuckerman, who argued the cause for Amicus Curiae National Employment Lawyers Association of New Jersey, stated the "decision is a win for employees who test positive for marijuana due to their lawful use of medical marijuana outside the workplace."