Recently, the New Jersey legislature passed a bill, A2647, implementing new notice requirements on employers of 50 or more employees. This new law requires employers to conspicuously post a notice advising workers of their rights to remain free of gender inequity or bias in pay, compensation or benefits or other terms or conditions of employment under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and the federal Equal Pay Act. Both laws prohibit wage or compensation discrimination based on gender.
Timing of Notification
Once the form notice is issued by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development (Commissioner) and final publication is made in the New Jersey Register, employers are required to provide notification: (1) within 30 days; (2) at the time of hiring, if a worker is hired after issuance of the notice; (3) annually, on or before December 30 of each year; and (4) to an employee, anytime upon request.
Form of Notification
This written notification may be publicized in many forms, and is not limited to hard-copy documents. Employers may make written notification available via any one of the following ways:
- e-mail delivery
- printed material, including but not limited to the following means: as a paycheck insert, brochure, or information provided to new hires; as an attachment to an employee handbook or set forth in a flyer distributed to all employees at a company-wide meeting
- intranet or internet Web site, provided that the site is for the exclusive use of workers, and all workers have access to the site. Employers who rely on this as a means for publication must provide notice to workers of the posting of this notification.
Employers who employ workers who do not have a company e-mail address, or who do not have internet access, are advised to rely on distribution of the notification via printed material. This will limit any claims that an employee did not receive such notification because he or she did not have the required means.
Notifications Shall Not Be Limited to English Language
This notification shall be available in English, and Spanish, and any other language deemed by the Commissioner as the first language of a significant number of workers in the state, at the discretion of the Commissioner. Employers shall post and provide the notification in English and Spanish as well as any other language under which such notification is available and which the employer reasonably believes constitutes the first language of a significant number of the employer’s workforce. Employers who are uncertain as to whether a language is considered the first language of a considerable number of its employees are advised to post and provide such notice to avoid any liabilities or penalties in connection with this act.
Employers must require all employees to sign and return an acknowledgment confirming that the worker has received the notification, and has read and understands its terms. Acknowledgments must be signed by the worker, either written or electronically, and returned to the employer within 30 days. Employers are advised to maintain these signed acknowledgment forms in the employee’s personnel file, or a file maintained by the employee’s supervisor.
While the statute became effective on November 19, 2012, employers are not required to take any action until the Commissioner issues the form of notification by regulation. This process, which can take several months, involves publication of the proposed form of notice, a 60-day comment period and publication in the New Jersey Register, which would contain the final form of notification. Final publication in the New Jersey Register will trigger the employer’s posting and distribution requirements.