Equal Pay Legal Issues:
Whether under the federal Equal Pay Act (“EPA”) or under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJ LAD”), the rate of pay given to members of one group or class of employees as defined by their age, sex, race, etc. cannot for that reason alone be less than that paid to members of other groups for comparable work. These principles apply to gender inequality, but can also apply whenever equal treatment is denied to any protected group with respect to compensation, promotion, or other terms or conditions of employment. But the difference must be on the basis of a protected characteristic such as race, age, sex, handicap, national origin, etc. Such issues may be viewed under the general heading of “employment discrimination” or “disparate treatment,” or the sub-category of an “equal pay” violation. The point is the same: if you have been denied equal pay or opportunity on the basis of who or what you are, rather than how you perform your job and what your qualifications are, you may have a valuable case under one or more of the controlling laws and regulations. But, as always, there can be strong counter-arguments, and legitimate nondiscriminatory reasons for the discrepancy can, if established by the employer, defeat equal pay claims.