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New bill aims to make wages more fair for women and minorities

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy came out strong in support of wage equality for women in the workplace, announcing that he would soon sign into law the "most sweeping equal pay legislation in America." He went on to claim that women in New Jersey often make only 82 cents to the dollar compared to men who do the same work. In fact, the governor claimed that he had hoped to sign the bill on the newly minted Equal Pay Day, but chose to wait for Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg to return from vacation for the signing.

The bill specifically outlaws any practice or instance of employers in the state of New Jersey providing or offering lower compensation, including benefits to any worker who qualifies under New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination. Under this law, many groups, including minorities and women, are granted specific protection from receiving lower compensation than others who do "substantially similar work" in the course of their employment.

The bill also makes it illegal for a company to decrease the wages of higher-earning individuals in order to avoid raising wages to address an inequity in pay. Individuals who file lawsuits based on these violations may be eligible to receive three times the compensation they were denied.

If you believe that you experience wage inequity in your workplace, you should carefully inspect the details of your concerns through the eyes of the law. You may find that you have grounds to file a legitimate lawsuit based on the violation, protecting your rights to fair compensation and encouraging employers to provide fair wages to all.

Source: NJ.com, "Phil Murphy just made this promise to N.J. women on Equal Pay Day," accessed April 13, 2018

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