March 25, 2019

March 25, 2019

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Court Holds New Jersey’s Equal Pay Act Will Not Be Applied Retroactively

The Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act (NJEPA) does not apply retroactively to conduct occurring before to its effective date, July 1, 2018, a federal district court has ruled. Perrotto v. Morgan Advanced Materials, 2:18-cv-13825-WJM-MF (D. N.J. Jan. 14, 2019). The court granted the employer’s motion to dismiss.

The NJEPA provides enhanced equal pay protections for New Jersey employees. It is considered one of the most expansive and aggressive pay equity bills enacted to date, providing a six-year statute of limitations, treble damages for violators of the Act, and renewed violations for each paycheck in which an employee is paid less than someone who performs substantially similar work.

The plaintiff’s employment was terminated prior to the NJEPA becoming law. She asserted gender-based pay discrimination and retaliation under the law.

The court noted that there is a presumption that statutes will be applied prospectively, rather than retroactively. This presumption can be overcome in three situations: i) express or implied legislative intent; ii) the amendment is curative; or iii) when the expectations of the parties so warrant. The court found that none of the exceptions warranted retroactive application of the NJEPA.

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James M. McDonnell, Jackson Lewis, restrictive covenants lawyer, harassment retaliation attorney
Principal

James M. McDonnell is a Principal in the Morristown, New Jersey, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He represents management exclusively in all aspects of employment litigation, including restrictive covenants, class-actions, harassment, retaliation, discrimination and wage and hour claims.

Mr. McDonnell regularly represents employers in federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights, the United States Department of Labor, and...

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Cashida Okeke, Jackson Lewis Law Firm, Labor and Employment Litigation Attorney
Associate

Cashida N. Okeke is an Associate in the Greenville, South Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice focuses on representing employers in workplace law matters, including preventive advice and counseling. 

Ms. Okeke represents employers in various employment and labor matters, including claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation brought under Title VII and the ADEA, as well as in general employment litigation matters such as wrongful termination. Ms. Okeke also assists in advising clients on issues related to wage and hour matters and in defending ERISA and breach of contract claims.

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