IMPACT OF GENDER DISCRIMINATION BILL ON NEW JERSEY EMPLOYEES
The Senate recently considered a bill that is designed to reduce the pay gap present between men and women in the workforce. A report in the New York Daily News notes that the bill was introduced in the Senate and blocked by Republicans. The bill was sponsored by Senator Barbara Mikulski out of Maryland who has worked to end gender discrimination by easing the ability of workers to sue employers who discriminate based on gender and working to help ensure equal pay for equal work despite one’s gender.
The Senator is attempting to help tighten current federal laws that make it illegal to pay women and men differently for comparable work. Her proposal specifically attempted to close loopholes that allow employers to justify different levels of payment based on sex and would also keep employers from punishing employees who share salary information. Republicans pushed back on these claims, arguing the bill would cause too much economic damage in an economy still reeling from the recession.
Gender discrimination laws: national and local
Gender discrimination occurs whenever a worker is treated unequally based on his or her sex. Men and women should not receive different treatment when it comes to hiring, promotions or bonuses. These protections were granted with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law makes it illegal for an employer to refuse to hire or to fire someone based on gender or to limit or deprive employment opportunities for this same reason.
Although federal protections are available, laws are also present at the state level. In New Jersey, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate based on sex under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Additional protections are provided at the state level under the New Jersey Equal Pay Act.
Remedies available for victims
These are just a few of the laws and regulations available to help protect employees and, as noted above, the laws may change. Although the most recent version of the bill that was introduced into the Senate failed, another version may find success. The fact that legislators continue to address this issue shows that gender discrimination is a serious offense that continues to plague the workplace. Gender discrimination can lead to the loss of earning power and emotional distress. Those who are the victims of gender discrimination should be aware that remedies are available. Contact an experienced New Jersey gender discrimination attorney to discuss your case and help better ensure that your legal rights are protected.