- 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.
Have you ever experienced discrimination in the workplace? Do you know your rights as an employee? This class will explore topics including: sexual harassment; discrimination on the basis of age, race, disability, or other protection classifications; medical marijuana in the workplace; whistle-blower claims; NJ’s newly enacted Wage Theft Act; the difference between the Federal and State family leave acts; and other laws that protect employees. We will discuss hypothetical employment claims based on real life employment experiences. Update: This course will also cover new employee protections available due to COVID-19.
The instructor for this course is Mason, Griffin & Pierson attorney, Elizabeth Zuckerman, Esq., who has been practicing employment law in Princeton for 30 years.
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."
Jeanne-Marie Scollo has become an Associate with Mason, Griffin & Pierson, P.C. She earned her J.D from Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center. She is a member of the firm's Local Government Law and Litigation Practice Groups. Ms. Scollo brings over nine years of previous legal experience to the firm. She served as Deputy County Counsel for Middlesex County from 2014 to 2019 and was previously a solo practitioner in New Brunswick. Ms. Scollo is admitted in New Jersey and New York and is a member of the New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys, Mercer County, Middlesex County, and New Jersey State Bar Associations.