1. Implement a bona fide seniority or merit system:
a. Seniority System:
i. Allocate benefits and compensation according to length of service.
b. Merit System:
i. Must be a structured procedure;
ii. Employees must be evaluated at regular intervals using pre-determined criteria;
iii. Can be based upon objective standards such as a test or a subjective standard (subjective standard will be strictly scrutinized for compliance).
2. Audit job titles and job descriptions:
a. Review job titles and job descriptions across all operations & facilities;
b. Identify jobs with “common core” tasks;
c. What are the specific duties and requirements of each job? What skills, effort and responsibility are required?
d. Group together jobs that are “substantially similar”?
3. Compare substantially similar jobs for compensation differences:
a. Are the employees in substantially similar jobs paid differently?
b. Include other benefits such as health care, bonuses and pension contributions as part of compensation for each job.
4. Evaluate whether pay differences are justified under the law:
a. Can the pay differences be justified based upon one or more bona fide legitimate factors such as training, education, experience or quantity & quality of production?
b. Is each factor applied reasonably?
c. Do one or more factors account for the entire differential?
d. Is each factor job-related?
5. Evaluate whether there are alternative business practices that would serve the same objective without causing the pay differential.
6. Adjust pay differentials that cannot be justified under the law:
a. Do not reduce the rate of pay of any employee to comply with the law.
b. Compliance can only be achieved by increasing the rate of pay.
7. Revise existing employee handbooks and policies:
a. Prohibit pay discrimination for substantially similar jobs;
b. Prohibit retaliation against employees who request, discuss or disclose compensation or other job-related information covered by the law.
8. Evaluate hiring, recruitment and promotion procedures:
a. Ensure equal employment and advancement opportunities;
b. Do not investigate or ask job applicants about compensation history;
c. Compensate jobs based upon the duties and responsibilities performed and on who fills the position.
9. Train HR professionals, managers and other key employees responsible for compensation and benefits to be familiar with the law’s requirements.
10. Work closely with your outside professionals to maximize your compliance efforts and reduce potential liability.
If you have questions or concerns about the New Jersey Equal Pay Act, contact Joseph Maddaloni, Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or (973) 540-7330, or Cynthia L. Flanagan at email@example.com or (973) 540-7331.