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New Jersey law protects salary discrimination investigations

There are more subtle forms of employment discrimination than refusing to hire or promote certain groups of people based on their age, race, religion or so on. It may not be obvious to the employees, but some employers discriminate against them by paying some workers less than others for the same work.

There may be legitimate reasons to pay some people  more than others with the same job title, such as differences in experience and education. However, paying higher salaries to some workers solely because of their race or religion is not acceptable under New Jersey law.

Of course, discussing salary can be an uncomfortable conversation. In addition, employers seeking to avoid getting caught discriminating against their workers may try to retaliate against an employee who is asking around what everyone is getting paid to see if the salaries are fair. These factors can make it difficult to find out if you are the victim of this form of employment discrimination.

Fortunately, there is a new law in New Jersey to make this task easier. An amendment that Gov. Chris Christie signed back in August now makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who are gathering information from their co-workers about what they earn or what benefits they receive. As long as the employee is doing so while looking into possible discrimination, he or she is protected from employer revenge such as punishment, demotion or termination.

This new law may not stop some employers from retaliating anyway, but it could give their employees another course of action against them. Hopefully, this will at least make some New Jersey businesses think twice before trying to prevent revealing conversations between their workers.

Source: NJ.com, “Your Legal Corner: New Jersey law against discrimination,” Victoria M. Dalton, Nov. 3, 2013

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