Firm Partner Dina Mastellone and Associate Allison Benz were quoted in an article entitled “Don’t delay on equal pay: Lawyers say firms must act fast to comply with Allen act” in the online magazine ROI last spring. The article discussed how New Jersey businesses should have prepared for complying with the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, which went into effect last July 1st.
Ms. Mastellone and Ms. Benz said in the article that the law should immediately spur internal audits of pay practices by all New Jersey businesses. “Prior to the July 1, 2018, effective date of the new law, all businesses must start looking at their existing pay practices to ensure compliance, which includes a review of their job descriptions, employee handbooks and policies to determine which employees perform ‘substantially similar work,’ in order to ensure they are being compensated at the same rate,” they said.
Ms. Mastellone and Ms. Benz added that members of protected classes must be paid the same rate as other non-protected employees for “substantially similar work when viewed as a composite of skill, effort and responsibility,” and the penalty for not doing so can be severe. Their quote on this: “In addition to the damages permitted under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination for compensatory damages, back and front pay and punitive damages, the new law allows employees to recover triple damages should a jury, or the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights, determine that the employer is guilty of an unlawful employment practice as defined by the law. This should serve as a powerful deterrent and encourage fairness in pay practices.”
To read the entire article, please click here.
Ms. Mastellone is Chair of the Firm’s Human Resource Training & Audit Programs Practice Group and a Partner in the Firm’s Employment Law & Litigation Practice Group. Ms. Benz is an Associate in the Employment Law & Litigation Practice Group.