Stender Calls on State to Investigate Anti-Discrimination Violations at Union County Bank, Vows Legislative Remedy if Necessary

Assemblywoman Linda Stender on Thursday promised a legislative remedy, if possible, to alleged violations of anti-discrimination laws at Union County Savings Bank and called on the State Division of Civil Rights to take another look at the matter after a Star Ledger report today detailed claims that the bank has a long-standing practice of providing male employees with far more generous insurance benefits than female employees.

The report alleges that for decades the bank has provided married male employees with health insurance policies that cover spouses and children while female employees were only provided with individual coverage. The report also claims that both the state Division of Civil Rights and the federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission declined to investigate the matter for various reasons.

“If this practice is in fact going on in such a blatant manner in this day and age, it’s shameful,” said Stender (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “This would appear to be in direct violation of the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. There needs to be a closer look taken at both the state and federal level because I find it inconceivable that this practice is not in violation of existing anti-discrimination laws.”

Stender, who represents Union County in the 22nd legislative district, also said she is taking a close look at current state laws to see what legislation, if any, might be needed to remedy the situation, particularly when it comes to discriminatory employer practices in the areas of benefits. If there is anything that can be done to establish a clear-cut policy barring this practice, she will introduce appropriate legislation.

“If there is a legislative remedy we can pursue at the state level, we will do so,” added Stender. “This can amount to thousands upon thousands of dollars in pay discrimination over the life of a female employee’s career. We’ve fought too long and hard to level the playing field for women to sit back and watch antiquated policies like this remain intact.”