On 21 September 2012, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law a bill that will require New Jersey employers with 50 or more employees to post and distribute to workers a notice reminding them of their right to be free from gender-based pay discrimination in the workplace. Employers must also obtain signed acknowledgments from workers of their receipt of the notice. Although the law takes effect on 21 November 2012, the notices are not yet available from the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL) and may not be available until early next year. Once the notices are made available by the NJDOL, employers will be required to post and distribute the notices in English, Spanish, and any other language for which the Commissioner has made the notice available, and also in the language which the employer “reasonably believes is the first language of a significant number of the employer’s workforce.” The details of this latter requirement will likely be addressed in the NJDOL’s regulations, which are also forthcoming.
The new law requires covered employers to post a notification, to be issued by the NJDOL, that sets forth workers’ “right to be free of gender inequity or bias in pay, compensation, benefits or other terms or conditions of employment” under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the federal Equal Pay Act. The notice should be “conspicuously” posted in a place or places accessible to all workers in each of the employer’s workplaces.
Employee notice and acknowledgment requirement
The law also requires covered employers to provide each worker with a written copy of the notice under various circumstances, and to obtain a signed acknowledgment from the worker within 30 days. Specifically, notice is to be provided:
- to all workers no later than 30 days after the notice is issued by the NJDOL;
- to each worker at the time of the worker’s hiring (if the worker is hired after the notice is issued);
- to all workers annually, on or before 31 December of each year; and
- at any time upon the first request of a worker.
Notice may be provided by the following means:
- by email delivery;
- through printed material, including but not limited to, “a pay check insert, brochure or similar informational packet provided to new hires, an attachment to an employee manual or policy book, or flyer distributed at an employee meeting”; or
- through an Internet or Intranet website, “if the site is for the exclusive use of all workers, can be accessed by all workers, and the employer provides notice to the workers of its posting.”
The notice should contain an acknowledgement that the worker has received the notice and has read and understands its terms. The acknowledgement should be signed by the worker (in writing or by means of electronic verification) and returned to the employer within 30 days of its receipt.
These new requirements are in line with the trend in New Jersey of requiring employers to post and/or distribute additional notices to workers reminding them of their rights in the workplace.