NJ Labor And Employment Law

The New Jersey Labor and Employment Law Blog is authored by Jay S. Becker and Joseph C. DeBlasio, shareholders in the Labor and Employment Law Practice Group, with support from the associates in the Group. It is dedicated to provide news and updates regarding all labor and employment matters throughout New Jersey.

New Jersey Law Against Discrimination Amended To Include Ban On Pay Secrecy

September 20, 2013 | Comments Off on New Jersey Law Against Discrimination Amended To Include Ban On Pay Secrecy
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Employees often gossip about the money they make which can often lead to disruption of the workplace.  In fact, many employers have policies prohibiting employees from sharing information regarding their compensation and benefits with their co-workers.  While employers can generally take action against employees who violate these policies and disrupt the workplace, employers should be cautious as the law imposes certain limitations on when an employer can take such actions.  Particularly, under Federal Law, the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) prohibits employers from interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees who engage in concerted activity, which has been found to include conversations about wages that are necessary for collective bargaining or other mutual aid and protection amongst employees.

Recently, on August 29, 2013, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie approved new legislation (P.L. 2013, c. 154) banning retaliation against employees who discuss their compensation with co-workers if the purpose of the discussion is to assist in investigating potential discriminatory conduct concerning “pay, compensation, bonuses, other compensation, or benefits.”  The new legislation becomes part of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, which already makes it illegal to compensate employees differently based on their membership in a protected class, such as gender, race, creed, disability status, national origin, sexual orientation, religion or other protected classes.

Under the new law, employees are not protected from adverse employment action unless the discussion of salary is somehow related to gathering information about possible discrimination.  Because it is not always easy for employers to ascertain an employee’s motives under these circumstances, employers must be careful to determine if employee discussion of compensation is protected under this new law, or other federal and state laws.   Please contact us for more information or assistance.


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