The use of data and statistical tables on race, ethnicity, and gender in civil action suits to determine loss of damages awarded in a civil complaint often reflect systemic gender pay disparities and the impact of workforce discrimination.
To put an end to long-standing discriminatory practices that may occur during civil actions regarding personal injuries and wrongful death, the Governor signed into law on Tuesday legislation (A-5509) that would prevent any estimations, measures, or calculations of past, present, or future damages for lost earnings or impaired earning capacity from being reduced by standard statistics based on race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.
The sponsors noted that this practice perpetuates a cycle in which women and minorities receive less in monetary damages as a result of a civil action suit.
Senator Andrew Zwicker (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex), Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, and Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli (both Mercer, Hunterdon) issued the following joint statement on the bill signing:
“Insurance payouts cannot continue to be based on general statistical data alone. This data often includes the historical trend of women and minorities earning less than their counterparts. For the calculations of damages to be a fair representation of value, it must take into account the victim’s projected lost earning potential— not just what statistics say they commonly earn in America as a woman or a person of color. Wage and workforce discrimination affects more aspects of the lives of residents than we may realize. This new law helps to right another wrong in the fight to end gender and race discrimination.”