Assembly Women and Children Committee Chair Pamela Lampitt on Friday said that Governor Christie’s actions on a two-bill package she sponsored aimed at bridging the gender pay equity gap demonstrates, once again, that he fails to see the big picture and the impact pay discrimination has on women and other minorities in today’s workforce.
Lampitt noted that the legislation Christie absolute vetoed (S-1038/A-2345) would have required employers contracting with the state to disclose demographic and other information about each employee, such as his or her gender, race, job title and total compensation. Upon request, the Division on Civil Rights in the Department of Law and Public Safety would be required to grant an employee access to the information
“Transparency is the best way to fight discrimination. Employees have little way of fighting wage discrimination, whether it is based on gender, race or age, unless they know what their counterparts are making,” said Lampitt. “To pretend this legislation does nothing tangible is completely disingenuous. While we can’t regulate private corporations, we can, in fact, regulate contractors doing business with the state and that is a great starting point.”
The second bill (S-783/A-2349), which Christie conditionally vetoed, mirrors the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 and would help employees fight pay discrimination. In doing so, the bill clarifies that unlawful discrimination occurs each time wages, benefits or other forms of compensation are paid to an employee, effectively making each paycheck issued for less than the full amount due another instance of discrimination.
“Unfortunately, we know all too well from hearings and discussions we’ve had that gender wage discrimination is alive and well in the 21st century,” added Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). “Given his repeated failure to support these measures, it’s clear the Governor does not understand the impact pay discrimination can have on working families, especially when a woman is the co- or primary bread winner in the family. It was our intention to empower employees with knowledge of their rights and hold employers more accountable, so that we can chip away the remaining fragments of the glass ceiling.”