The Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act (NJEPA) does not apply retroactively to conduct occurring before its effective date, July 1, 2018, a federal district court has ruled. Perrotto v. Morgan Advanced Materials, 2:18-cv-13825-WJM-MF (D. N.J. Jan. 14, 2019). The court granted the employer’s motion to dismiss.

The NJEPA provides enhanced equal pay protections for New Jersey employees. It is considered one of the most expansive and aggressive pay equity bills enacted to date, providing a six-year statute of limitations, treble damages for violators of the Act, and renewed violations for each paycheck in which an employee is paid less than someone who performs substantially similar work.

The plaintiff’s employment was terminated prior to the NJEPA becoming law. She asserted gender-based pay discrimination and retaliation under the law.

The court noted that there is a presumption that statutes will be applied prospectively, rather than retroactively. This presumption can be overcome in three situations: i) express or implied legislative intent; ii) the amendment is curative; or iii) when the expectations of the parties so warrant. The court found that none of the exceptions warranted retroactive application of the NJEPA.

Jackson Lewis’ Pay Equity Resource Group will continue to monitor this and other case law developments impacting federal and local pay equity laws.

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Photo of Cashida N. Okeke Cashida N. Okeke

Cashida N. Okeke is an associate in the Greenville, South Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice focuses exclusively on representing management in a broad range of employment law matters through both litigation as well as preventive advice and counseling.

Cashida has…

Cashida N. Okeke is an associate in the Greenville, South Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice focuses exclusively on representing management in a broad range of employment law matters through both litigation as well as preventive advice and counseling.

Cashida has litigated cases involving both federal and state employment laws, including claims involving discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, and wage and hour issues.  She has also helped clients defend against denial of benefits claims brought under ERISA and has represented employers in proceedings before various administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission.

Before joining Jackson Lewis, Cashida was an associate at a nationwide law firm, where she practiced in the areas of business litigation, pharmaceutical and medical device litigation, and complex e-discovery.

While attending law school, Cashida served as Associate Editor in Chief of the ABA Real Property Trust and Estate Law Journal.