Employee rights and public notice bills advance in Assembly Labor

TRENTON – A number of bills aimed at curbing discrimination in the workplace cleared the Assembly Labor Committee on Monday morning.

A2647, which was released by a 6-0 vote with three Republican abstentions, requires every employer to post a notification of workers rights that provides for gender pay equity. The bill also requires that the state make the notifications available in English, Spanish, or any other language that the commissioner of Labor and Workplace Development determines is the first language of 10 percent of employees. The notification would be posted or made available online, and each employee would sign a statement that they read the posting.

Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D-6), Voorhees, is the sponsor of the bill.

Stefanie Riehl of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association opposed the bill, saying there are “duplicative requirements” that are already in place. Instead, Riehl said the NJBIA would like to work toward a “greater education of workers and employers.”

Assemblyman Ronald Dancer (R-12), Cream Ridge, Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-26), Whippany, and Assemblyman Robert Schroeder (R-39), Woodcliff Lake, abstained.

Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell (D-31), Bayonne, Assemblyman Craig Coughlin, (D-19), Woodbridge, Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-14), Hamilton, Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, (D-38), Paramus, Assemblyman Joseph Egan (D-17), New Brunswick, and Assemblywoman Marlene Caride, (D-36), Bergen/Passaic, voted in favor of A2647.

A2648, sponsored by Assemblyman Angel Fuentes (D-5), Audubon, would prohibit employer retaliation against an employee who discusses information regarding a job title, occupational category, and rate of compensation with any other employee. The bill was released from committee by a 6-1-2 vote along party lines. Schroeder and Dancer abstained, while Webber voted no. O’Donnell, Coughlin, DeAngelo, Wagner, Egan, and Caride voted in favor of the bill.

Lampitt said employers often tell employees not to discuss their salary with other people. Lampitt said this hinders pay equity in the office, and A2648 would protect employees who discuss salaries.

A2649, sponsored by Lampitt, would require any employer who contracts with the state to report information regarding gender, race, job title, occupational category, and rate of compensation of every employee working in the state to the commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development.

The commissioner would make the information available to the Division of Civil Rights in the Department of Law and Public Safety.

A2649 cleared by a 6-1-2 vote, with Webber voting no, and Schroeder and Dancer abstaining. O’Donnell, Coughlin, DeAngelo, Wagner, Egan, and Caride voted in favor of the bill.

A2650, also sponsored by Lampitt, would establish that every time wages, benefits, or other compensation are unlawfully paid to an individual, the actual payment could be considered unlawful discriminatory compensation. A6250 passed by a 5-1-3 vote. Webber voted no, while Schroeder, Dancer and Caride abstained. O’Donnell, Coughlin, DeAngelo, Wagner, and Egan voted to release the bill.

Bill encouraging call centers to stay in N.J. clears

A2651, sponsored by Wagner, also cleared the Assembly Labor Committee by a 6-2-1 vote along party lines.

Webber and Schroeder voted no, and Dancer abstained. O’Donnell, Coughlin, DeAngelo, Wagner, Egan, and Caride voted in favor of the bill.

The bill would require employers that relocate a call center to a foreign country to notify the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development at least 120 days prior to the relocation or transfer of operations.

The bill would disqualify certain companies on the commissioner’s list from state aid and grants.

Violation of the requirement would subject an employer to a daily $10,000 penalty. The New Jersey Business and Industry Association opposed the legislation.

Sharon Adamo, of CWA Local 1023 (a Verizon call center union), spoke in favor of the legislation.

“We want to see the company succeed but we need to bring these jobs back to New Jersey,” Adamo said.

Employee rights and public notice bills advance in Assembly Labor