On September 19, 2012, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law Bill A2647, which requires an employer with fifty or more employees to provide written notice and post notices that detail an employee’s right “to be free of gender inequity or bias in pay, compensation, benefits or other terms or conditions of employment” under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Equal Pay Act of 1963.
To comply with the law, the notice must be in a form issued by regulation promulgated by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development (the “Commissioner”). Although the law becomes effective on November 19, 2012, the Commissioner has not yet developed the notice, nor has it made the notice available for employers. Consequently, the law’s posting and distribution requirements have not yet been triggered.
Once the Commissioner issues the notice, however, each employee must be provided with a written copy of the notice: (i) no later than 30 days after the form is issued by the New Jersey Department of Labor (“NJDOL”); (ii) at the time of the employee’s hiring, if he or she is hired after the issuance; (iii) annually, on or before December 31 of each year; and (iv) at any time upon the first request of the employee. The notice must be in both English and Spanish, as well as any other language in which the NJDOL has made the notice available and which the employer reasonably believes is the first language of a “significant number” of its workforce.
The employer may provide the written notice by (i) email; (ii) printout (“including but not limited to, a pay check insert, brochure or similar informational packet provided to new hires, an attachment to an employee manual or policy book, or flyer distributed at an employee meeting”); or (iii) through an intranet website, provided that the website is for the exclusive use of all employees, is accessible by all employees, and the employer provides notice of the intranet posting to the employees. Importantly, an employer must confirm the distribution of the notice by requiring employees to execute an acknowledgement (either signed in writing or by means of electronic verification), which confirms that the employee has received the notice and has read and understood its terms. The acknowledgement must be returned to the employer within thirty days.
Finally, in addition to distributing the written notice, the employer must post the notice in a place or places accessible to all employees in each of the employer’s workplaces.
The new law does not indicate what penalties, if any, can be imposed for a failure to comply. The NJDOL will be posting regular updates on its website as to the status of the rulemaking.