Under the New Jersey Equal Pay Act, employees are protected from unfair pay practices on the part of your employer, including unequal pay due to sex, national origin, race, religion, disability, and other protected characteristics.
Unfortunately, some employers continue to engage in practices that discriminate against certain groups of workers when it comes to wages and company culture and the taboo surrounding talking about pay with co-workers means that some businesses continue to get away with unfair labor practices that discriminate against workers. By not discussing pay structure out in the open, groups of workers continue to draw the short end of the stick, getting paid less than their equal co-working counterparts.
The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, P.C. is dedicated to advocating for New Jersey workers who may be being unfairly compensated for the work that they do. Is it fair that you pour just as much blood, sweat, and tears into your work as your co-workers and receive less than they do? The answer is simple, no. You deserve the same respect, pay, and benefits that your equals enjoy. Not only is this practice unfair, but it is also against the law. If you feel that you are being discriminated against or underpaid because of your gender, contact the experienced team at The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, P.C. If your rights are being violated, we want to help, call us now at (800) 406-8013 to schedule a free consultation.
What is the Federal Equal Pay Act?
Equal pay for equal work was the goal of the 1963 Equal Pay Act. This piece of federal legislation was meant to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act and ensure protections for those discriminated against based on their sex. For decades women have been given pennies on the dollar for their work when being compared to their male counterparts in the same job within the same industry. Although the law was initially created to help overcome the unfair pay gap historically targeting women, the courts have ruled that the act applies to both genders. The Federal Equal Pay Act is meant to level the playing field and ensure that both sexes, male and female, get the same compensation for the same work.
The Federal Equal Pay Act not only establishes equality in the form of wages, but it also guarantees that all forms of compensation should be considered equal. That includes base salary, overtime pay, company bonuses, availability of life insurance, vacation time, holiday pay, and even reimbursement for travel-related expenses, and gasoline allowance or mileage.
Violations that the Equal Pay Acts Protect Against
The Federal Equal Pay Act only addresses pay disparities between equal employees of the opposite sex. The New Jersey Equal Pay Act encompasses more than pay disparities based on sex; protection under this law extends to pay disparities that are also based on national origin, race, religion, disability, and other protected characteristics. There are a variety of behaviors that may trigger a violation of both of these laws. These are some of the instances where discrimination may be taking place in violation of the Federal Equal Pay Act and the New Jersey Equal Pay Act:
- Paying different wages to equal employees, one employee is earning lea than the other in terms of salary or wages
- Paying groups of workers less than other equal groups of workers
- Refusing to pay benefits to an employee based on gender
- Refusing to pay out or issue a pension based on gender
- Denying employee health benefits, insurance, or other company benefits based on gender
There may be other ways in which a company or business infringes on a worker’s rights based solely on their gender. If you suspect that you are being unfairly taken advantage of in terms of pay or benefits by your employers, seek out the legal advice of The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, P.C.. Our attorneys are experienced when it comes to fighting for the rights or workers and will dedicate themselves to holding employers responsible for discriminating actions.
How Do You Prove an Equal Pay Act Violation is Taking Place?
It can be challenging to prove an Equal Pay Act violation is taking place, that is because you bear the burden of proof to show that your employer is violating your rights based on your gender. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, anyone bringing an Equal Pay Act suit must show that their lower-paying job is substantially equal in skill, effort, and responsibility while being performed under similar working conditions within the same establishment to a higher paid counterpart.
The term equal does not necessarily refer to the exact same job, but the jobs do have to be considered substantially equal overall to each other when it comes to content. In addition to proving that the work was comparatively equal, you must also prove that your pay difference is in fact based on gender, and you must show that you received less compensation than another opposite-sex employee. Important documents that may help to establish your case may include:
- Pay stubs, hiring contracts, company handbook or employment policies
- Emails, text messages, written documents from your employer regarding your pay
- Statements or information from HR, witnesses, or co-workers that can help establish a difference in pay
- Any other information or documentation showing discrepancies in pay, or mentions of gender
Once an employee makes a claim against their employer and they show that a discrepancy in pay is the result of a gender issue, then the burden of proof shifts to the employer to prove otherwise.
Why You Need an Experienced Employee Rights Attorney
It is a fact, no employer wants to be taken to court, especially over a violation of the Equal Pay Act. Court battles can be lengthy and expensive, hurt a company’s reputation, and eat into their profit margins. It can also impact a company because if one person brings a suit against them, it may spark more employees to take a closer look at how they are being paid and bring suits of their own. An employer may have an entire HR and legal department at their disposal to fight back against claims of wage discrimination. While there are legitimate reasons that a company may pay employees differently, in some cases a business may try to claim one of these valid reasons after the fact in an attempt to discredit an employee’s claims. Some of the common circumstances that an employer will cite that argue in favor of unequal pay include:
- Different educational levels of employees
- If one worker has a master’s degree and the other has a bachelor’s degree that can be cause for a pay differential
- The employer has a seniority system
- The employer has a merit-based system
- Differences in location
- Employees in cities with higher costs of living may earn more than those living in less expensive areas
- Differences in shifts
- Employees working less desirable shift hours may make more than others
- Differences in the quality of work that equal employees put out
While these are all valid factors that play into determining pay for employees, there are instances where an employer may try to cite one of these legitimate reasons only in an attempt to discredit the claim, not because that policy was in place at the time of the suit. This is why you need to help of a skilled attorney. The legal team at The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, P.C. can help you sort through the facts and fiction surrounding your wage discrepancy. If you have a valid discrimination claim we will aggressively work to protect your rights and hold your employer responsible for their actions. The determining factor in pay should never boil down to a person’s gender or other protected characteristic. Period.
The Clock is Ticking
If you are concerned that you are being discriminated against because of your gender, you may be hesitant to speak up at first. It is a complex and intimidating situation that you suddenly find yourself in. However, it is important to know that the longer you wait, the more difficult it may become to file a suit rectifying the situation. That is because the statute of limitations on the Equal Pay Act violations is only two years from the date the discrimination is discovered. While you may be tempted to wait and try to uncover more evidence your best option is to get legal advice from a skilled and experienced employee rights attorney.
Contact an Experienced New Jersey Equal Pay Act Attorney
You’ve worked extremely hard for what you have, is it fair that someone doing the exact same job gets paid more than you just because of their gender? No. You don’t have to accept that in the workplace. Don’t let your employer continue to violate your rights and the law. Contact the seasoned legal team at The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, P.C.. We are a group of New Jersey attorneys who have made it our mission to protect the rights of workers just like you.
If you are not getting the same pay as your counterparts, contact us at (800) 406-8013 for a free legal consultation. We will review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free case evaluation. Our attorneys will then aggressively seek to hold your employer accountable and secure fair compensation for you and others who have been the victim of unfair pay practices. Don’t wait. Call us today.