New Jersey employers are reminded that, beginning January 6, 2014, they are required to conspicuously post a copy of the State’s new Gender Equity Notice (the “Notice”) in the workplace, distribute the Notice to current employees, and thereafter provide written copies of the Notice at the time of hire, annually to all employees, and otherwise upon request. Signed acknowledgements of the Notice must be obtained, in writing or by electronic verification, from each employee within 30 days of each distribution. (See further specific details of the requirements, bulleted below). The Notice, now available from the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development in both English and Spanish, can be found by clicking here.
This new administrative requirement is the product of an amendment to the New Jersey Equal Pay Act that Governor Christie signed into law in September 2012. The amendment requires employers to inform their employees of the “right to be free from gender inequity or bias in pay, compensation, benefits or other terms or conditions of employment” under state and federal anti-discrimination laws.
The new posting and distribution requirements apply to all employers with 50 or more employees who have at least one employee located in New Jersey, even if the majority of employees work outside of the State.
Covered employers must do the following:
- Conspicuously post a copy of the Notice in a location accessible to all New Jersey employees. Posting can be accomplished physically in a location where all employees have access and/or by posting the notice to an internal website to which all New Jersey employees have access.
- Provide each New Jersey employee hired on or after January 6, 2014 with a copy of the Notice at the time of hire.
- Distribute copies of the Notice to all New Jersey employees hired on or before January 6, 2014, and thereafter provide New Jersey employees with additional copies of the Notice annually and at any other time upon their request. Distribution may be in hard copy or electronic, but must initially be performed no later than February 5, 2014. Thereafter, annual distributions must be performed no later than December 31st each year.
- Obtain signed acknowledgments and/or electronic verifications from every New Jersey employee confirming their receipt of the Notice. Signed acknowledgments and/or electronic verifications must be received by the employer within 30 days of each distribution of the Notice.
Covered employers are required to post and distribute the Notice in English, Spanish and any other language which they reasonably believe to be the first language of a “significant number” – equal to 10 percent or more – of their workforce, as long as the translation is available. Although currently only the English and Spanish versions of the Notice are available from the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development, prudent employers should ensure that their postings are regularly reviewed and updated so that they distribute alternate translations where required as those translations become available from the Department.
Employers should also update their new hire packets to include copies of the forms and acknowledgments, add these forms and acknowledgments to their annual distribution procedures (such as those followed for annual distribution of the required notice of the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act), and timely prepare for dissemination and acknowledgment of the Notice to their existing workforce.
A brief summary of New Jersey’s Gender Equity Notification requirements prepared by the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development can be found here.