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Proposed Legislation May Significantly Expand Back Pay in New Jersey Wage Discrimination Cases

Pending legislation could dramatically expand the right of New Jersey employees to recover back pay based on wage discrimination claims. Senate Bill No. 1933/Assembly Bill 2650 would amend the New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), delineating the initial discriminatory act or decision as a “continuing violation” each time compensation is provided to the affected employee. Currently, the act of paying wages or other compensation that is preceded by a discriminatory decision is considered a discrete wrongful act under the New Jersey Supreme Court decision Alexander v. Seton Hall University, 204 N.J. 219 (2010). The Alexander decision ruled that the statute of limitations for back pay under the NJLAD is two years prior to the filing of a wage discrimination lawsuit.

NJ employment attorneys explain potential change to the NJLAD regarding ongoing violations

If the pending legislation is signed into law by the governor, the right to back pay could extend back to the original discriminatory compensation decision. This means an employee may be able to obtain back pay for years prior, up to the date of hire. The potential extension of the period for which one may seek back pay could significantly increase the value of discriminatory compensation claims.

Given Gov. Christie’s pro-business orientation, there is skepticism regarding whether he will sign the bill into law, but the possibility exists that the state legislature would override the governor’s veto. Because the bill designates that a discriminatory practice or decision under the NJLAD occurs every time wages, benefits or other forms of compensation are paid, each new paycheck or compensatory act effectively constitutes a re-start of the statute of limitations.

If you file an action for financial compensation under the NJLAD, the amount of compensation you receive can turn on subtle factual distinctions or sophisticated legal nuances. This is one example of how legal distinctions can make a substantial difference in the amount of compensation you receive for your wage discrimination legal claim.

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Neil H. Deutsch
Senior Partner

About Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for…

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Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

About Bruce L. Atkins is regarded as one of New Jersey's premiere practitioners of employment and civil litigation. Mr. Atkins has also been included in the Thomson Reuters list of New Jersey Super Lawyers* in Employment Litigation since 2005. Mr. Atkins believes employees have rights that should be aggressively pursued when an employer has wrongfully dealt…

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Adam J. Kleinfeldt
Partner

About Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigations such as discrimination, retaliation, and whistle blowing matters.  He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for some of his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a…

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Robert J. Pantina
Attorney

About Robert J. Pantina joined the firm in 2018. Mr. Pantina received his B.A. from Rider University in 2008. He received his J.D. from the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University in 2017. While in law school, Mr. Pantina interned for the Hon. Bonnie J. Mizdol, Assignment Judge of the Superior Court of…

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Diane Englander Peyser
Attorney

About Diane Englander Peyser joined Deutsch Atkins, PC in September 2018 where she represents employees in wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment, and discrimination matters. Prior to joining Deutsch Atkins, PC, Diane represented clients in all aspects of employment law on behalf of employees involving unemployment appeals, claims of sexual harassment, LGBT discrimination, disability discrimination, FMLA, New…

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