New Jersey’s Allen Act for Equal Pay

On April 24, 2018, Governor Murphy has signed one of the nation’s strongest equal pay bills into law. The new legislation is known as The Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, S-104 (“the Allen Act”). The Act amends the New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination. While the main purpose of the law is to close the gender-pay gap, it goes beyond just paying men and women the same. In fact, it forbids pay differentials between members of any protected class when those workers are performing substantially similar work. The new legislation strengthens the Law Against Discrimination, making it one of the powerful anti-discrimination laws in the United States.

What is the Purpose of the Allen Act?

The Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act makes it illegal in New Jersey for employers to pay women or members of any other protected class listed under the Law Against Discrimination less than anyone who do not belong to a protected class.

The legislation is considered to be strongest in the country because victims of discrimination will be able to seek back pay for up to six (6) years of underpayment. Prior to this new legislation, these claims only covered back pay for up to two (2) years.

Additionally, if the employer is guilty of unlawful employment practices, the legislation allows for treble damages to be awarded. This means that a court may award a plaintiff triple the amount of the actual damages. The Allen Act also mandates an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs when the plaintiff wins.

When Does the Allen Act Become Effective?

The new law takes effect on July 1, 2018.

What is a Protected Class?

Under the Allen Act, a “protected class” would include race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, affectional or sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy, sex, gender identity or expression, disability or atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait of any individual, or liability for service in the armed forces.

What are the Statute of Limitations for the Allen Act?

Sections of the Allen Act mirror the federal Lily Ledbetter Act. Those sections amend the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) to mandate that a discriminatory compensation decision or other employment practice that is unlawful under the LAD occurs each time that compensation is paid in furtherance of that discriminatory decision or practice.

Under the new legislation, the statute of limitations begins each time discriminatory action is taken. The Allen Act also prohibits an employer from requiring an employee to agree to a shorter statute of limitations or to waive any protections provided under the LAD.

The “discovery rule” might set the accrual of the statute of limitations when the plaintiff discovers the violation instead of when it actual occurred. The “continuing violation doctrine” might make the occurrence of a violation within the statutory period permit a claim for violations that pre-date the statute of limitations.

Can My Employer Make Me Waive My Protections?

The bill prohibits an employer from requiring any employee or prospective employee to waive their rights under the law as a condition of employment.

Can My Employer Take Reprisal Actions Against Me?

The Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, S-104, prohibits employers from taking reprisal action against employees in New Jersey for discussing with, or disclosing to, other employees or former employees, attorneys, or government agencies, information about job titles, occupational categories, rates of compensation, gender, race, ethnicity, military status, or national origin of employees or former employees.

What are the Reporting Requirements for New Jersey Contractors?

Under the new legislation, an employer entering into a contract with the State of New Jersey would be required to provide information concerning every employee employed in connection with the contract, including information regarding the employee’s job title, occupational category, race, gender, and total compensation. The bill also requires the report to specify significant changes in employee status during the contract.

What are the Exceptions to Equal Pay Rules?

The Allen Act contained several exceptions. For example, the employer’s pay practices do not violate the Allen Act if the employer can demonstrate that men and women are paid differently for the same work under:

  • a seniority system;
  • a merit system;
  • a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or
  • “bona fide factors.”

The “bona fide factors” can include “training, education or experience, or the quantity or quality of production.” The law requires, however, that the “bona fide factors” must be “job-related” and “based on a legitimate business necessity.”

How Can Employers and Employees Prepare?

Employers can prepare for the Allen Act by conducting an audit to determine whether employees that perform substantially similar work are being paid the same in salary and benefits. Employers must also train those who make hiring decisions and compensation decisions to ensure compliance.

What if I am Experiencing Employment Discrimination?

Many businesses will be looking closely at their hiring, promotion, and compensation decisions in order to comply with the new law. If your employer is not in compliance with the provisions of the Allen Act, consider seeking out legal advice from an experienced employment law attorney.

With offices in Philadelphia, PA and Moorestown, NJ, the employment law attorneys at Console Mattiacci Law, LLC, represent employees in discrimination cases throughout New Jersey, Philadelphia and New York. If you are a victim of employment decimation, please call us today at 859-854-4000 or contact us here.

Child Advocacy Annual Benefit Reception & Auction

The attorneys at Console Mattiacci Law, LLC, recently attended the Child Advocacy Benefit at the Crystal Tea Room on April 19, 2018. The annual event celebrates the work of the Support Center for Child Advocates and its honorees.

The event honored two local community leaders, Ann and Mark Baiada, with the 2018 Judge Lois G. Forer Child Advocacy Award. The award recognizes their commitment to the needs of young people and their efforts to provide support to disadvantaged children.

Attendees at the event also celebrated the 2018 Distinguished Advocates, who devote countless hours to improving the lives of vulnerable children. The mission of the Support Center for Child Advocates is to advocate for victims of child abuse and neglect with the goal of securing safety, justice, well-being and a permanent, nurturing environment for every child.

The Support Center for Child Advocates provides legal assistance and social service advocacy for abused and neglected children in Philadelphia County. Child Advocates is one of the most successful volunteer models serving children in the country. Since its founding in 1977, Child Advocates has trained more than 10,000 attorneys who contribute pro bono services valued at more than $5 million annually.

Console Mattiacci Law, LLC strongly believes in giving back to the community and is proud to support the Support Center for Child Advocates.

Console Mattiacci Law: Highest Employment Law Verdict in the Country For 2017

On January 26, 2017, after a four-day trial, a federal jury in Camden, New Jersey rendered an age discrimination verdict in favor of Robert Braden and against Lockheed Martin in the amount of $51,560,000. According to ALM’s “Top 100 Verdicts,” the unanimous jury award in this case was the highest employment law verdict in the country for 2017 by over $25,000,000. The verdict was also the 33rd highest verdict in the country in 2017, for any type of case and in any court, and the highest verdict in New Jersey state or federal court in 2017. To see the full list of the “Top 100 Verdicts” in the country, please visit here.

The case involved a reduction in force, which Mr. Braden claimed was an effort by Lockheed Martin to target older workers in a scheme to lay them off and replace them with younger workers. The jury of eight unanimously agreed, awarding Mr. Braden all of the economic loss he sought ($520,000), concluding that the action was willful (which adds liquidated damages of $520,000, pursuant to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act), and further awarding Mr. Braden pain and suffering damages of $520,000. The jury later concluded that Lockheed Martin was subject to punitive damages in the amount of $50,000,000 under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Plaintiff’s trial counsel were Rahul Munshi and Emily R. Derstine Friesen of Console Mattiacci Law, LLC, and they were assisted at trial by paralegals Charlene Bates and Cheryl Weaver.

If you have experienced of age discrimination in the workplace, Console Mattiacci Law, LLC will fight for your rights. We serve Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. Contact Us Online or Call Us today at 215-545-7676 to set up a consultation.

Federal Judge Agrees to Allow Age Discrimination Lawsuit to Proceed

Win For Console Mattiacci Law: Federal Judge Agrees That US Teva Worker Is Allowed To Proceed With Age Discrimination Lawsuit Against Israeli Branch Of Teva Pharmaceuticals

Law360 reported on February 5, 2018 that Console Mattiacci Law, LLC has won the right to pursue an age discrimination lawsuit against the Israeli Branch of Teva Pharmaceuticals in federal court.  Stephen Middlebrooks is a former senior director of US Teva Pharmaceuticals North American facilities.  He alleges that he lost his job in an act of discrimination based on his age and national origin.  Prior to the termination, Middlebrooks had been a senior facilities manager employed by Teva Pharmaceuticals USA.  He had worked for Teva Pharmaceuticals USA for over 15 years.

As a senior facilities manager, Middlebrooks was directly supervised by Nir Haaroni.  Haaroni is based out of the Israeli Branch of Teva Pharmaceuticals.  The Israeli based Teva Pharmaceuticals, claimed that it is a separate entity from the US based Teva Pharmaceuticals.  But Federal Chief Judge Lawrence Stengel ruled that the Israeli branch shares a “commonality of interest” with the US based Teva Pharmaceuticals.  Therefore, Middlebrooks is proceeding with the claim filed with the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. et al. The full article is available here.

Middlebrooks is represented by Stephen Console and Caren Gurmankin of Console Mattiacci Law, LLC. For more information on age discrimination, please visit our website.

 

At Console Mattiacci Law, LLC, we fight age discrimination in employment for our clients. If you feel you are a victim of age discrimination, we are here to help you.  We are licensed to practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts.  With convent office locations in Philadelphia, PA and Moorestown, NJ. Please call us today at 215-545-7676 or email us to set up a consultation.

SaveSave

Console Mattiacci Law Takes Part in Philadelphia Naturalization Ceremony

Every year, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) celebrates Presidents Day, the holiday honoring the birth of the nation’s first president, George Washington, and all other presidents who have led the country, with naturalization ceremonies across the country. Last year, more than 25,000 new citizens were welcomed in 162 naturalization ceremonies from February 14-22, 2017.

This year, Console Mattiacci Law partner Rahul Munshi was the distinguished speaker at the naturalization ceremony held at the U.S. Courthouse in Philadelphia on February 15. According to the Philadelphia Bar Reporter, 68 people from 28 countries became United States citizens at the ceremony.

Philadelphia Bar Association Board of Governors assistant treasurer Matthew S. Olesh and United States District Judge Joel H. Slomsky of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit also appeared at the ceremony. Munshi actually completed his federal judicial clerkship with Slomsky in 2009 and 2010, a fact Slomsky himself noted in introducing Munshi before he spoke.

“What an extraordinary journey you all have been on,” Munshi said. “To uproot your lives, move to another country, make it your home, and to make a new life takes courage, faith, and a resounding amount of determination. I honestly do not believe that I could do what each and everyone of you has done. I’m in awe of your strength.”

Munshi spoke about being born in New York City and the United States being the country he has ever lived in, but being the son immigrants who moved to the United States and then met in New York City in the early 1970s. Munshi thanked his parents for their bravery and then thanked the audience “for taking a leap of faith that your life in this country would result in better lives for your children.”

“I’m in awe of your tenacity,” Munshi told the audience. “And I welcome you with open arms to this great nation of ours.”

Munshi recalled how his father trained as a social worker before deciding to go to law school and take the Bar Exam in his second language. He said he took the journeys his parents and family members took to come to the United States for granted as a child, but told the audience that their children “are going to realize how unbelievably lucky they are to have you as their parents.”

“Being an American comes with responsibilities and obligations, of course,” Munshi said. “And I urge all of you, with your newly minted status as a United States citizen, to wear your badge with honor and engage in civic life. Register to vote, even run for office yourself, serve on a jury if given the opportunity in this courthouse, and take pride in your City and country. Your country. My fellow Americans, it is with great pride that I congratulate each and every one of you for today becoming citizens of this most exceptional country.”

Console Mattiacci Law Obtains $1.7 Million in Breach of Contract Case

Console Mattiacci Law, LLC recently represented Charles Nifong, the former chief investment officer and vice president of finance for Allentown-based CrossAmerica (formerly Lehigh Gas), a leading wholesale distributor of motor fuels and owner and lessee of real estate used in the retail distribution of motor fuels. On October 1, 2014, CST Brands Inc.—a Fortune 500 Company that is one of the largest independent retailers of motor fuels and convenience merchandise in North America—purchased CrossAmerica.

As part of the acquisition, the companies executed a change-in-control contract. Under the contract, Nifong was protected from having his job duties reduced, and if his duties were reduced, he would be entitled to benefits under the Contract. Nifong asserted that certain key duties as vice president of finance and chief investment officer began to be reduced in January and February 2015, such that he was entitled to compensation. The company failed to pay him.

Nifong sued CST Brands, Inc., CST Services, LLC, Cross America Partners LP, and Cross America GP LLC, alleging breach of contract and violations of the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law. Counsel for the companies claimed that Nifong’s job duties were not reduced to the extent he alleged, that the company offered him superior positions which he did not accept, and that even if Nifong’s job duties were reduced, then he was not entitled to any benefits because he terminated his employment in an untimely manner.

The trial lasted four days and trial deliberations lasted 70 minutes. Nifong sought to recover a stipulated amount of $1,249,337. The jury found that the defendants breached their contract with Nifong and did not act in good faith. As such, they awarded him the stipulated contract amount plus liquidated damages, which equaled 25% of the stipulated contract amount. Judgment was thereafter entered for $1,711,591.44 plus attorneys’ fees.

If you are dealing with any kind of employment contract dispute in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or New York, you will want to contact Console Mattiacci Law, LLC as soon as possible. Our experienced Philadelphia and New Jersey attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation of your situation. We will work to hold the negligent party fully accountable, so you can recover all of the damages you are entitled to. Call 215-545-7676 for our Pennsylvania office or 856-854-4000 for our New Jersey office to take advantage of a free consultation.

Console Mattiacci’s Emily Derstine Friesen Featured as a Drexel Rad Grad

Console Mattiacci’s own Emily Derstine Friesen was featured as a 2017 Drexel, Thomas R. Kline School of Law Rad Grad. In the article she explains the differences between the practice of law and law school. She also discusses how it feels to hit the ground running as a new attorney finding success.

Ms. Derstine Friesen graduated from Kline School of Law in the fall of 2016 and started as a full-time associate at Console Mattiacci in Philadelphia. She has barely been practicing a year and already has an impressive $51 million dollar verdict under her belt.

Although, Ms. Derstine-Friesen says that law school is almost nothing like the actual practice of law, she cites the Frankel Appellate Litigation Clinic at Kline Law School as a great way to find opportunities to develop the skills one needs in the context of representing and advocating on behalf of clients.

Ms. Derstine Friesen is entering her second year as an associate at Console Mattiacci, learn more about her here.

Legal Intelligencer Column Discusses Console Mattiacci Law Case

Philadelphia Employment Lawyer

The oldest law journal in the United States, The Legal Intelligencer, published a column on July 12, 2017, entitled, “Inconsistent Performance Standards Dooms Defense Case.” The column focuses on the case of Larison v. FedEx Corporate Services, No. 16-5921 (E.D. Pa. June 9, 2017), in which the plaintiff is a client of Console Mattiacci Law. While the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted FedEx’s motion for summary judgment as to Ms. Larison’s retaliation claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) and Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA), it denies FedEx’s motion as to her ADEA and PHRA age discrimination claims. After concluding the District Sales Manager who discharged Larison “treated her employees in a disparate fashion based on age.”

Console Mattiacci Law Files Age Discrimination Suit Against AT&T


The New Jersey Law Journal reported on July 3 that Stephen Console and Laura Mattiacci of Console Mattiacci filed an age discrimination lawsuit against AT&T in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. The lawsuit claims that the company has divided its termination process into multiple steps in a purposeful attempt to conceal discrimination.

“Any AT&T employee who signed an invalid release still may have the right to bring a federal age discrimination claim and keep the severance they were paid,” Console said in a statement. “Under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), in order for a worker to release their ADEA claims, information must be presented by the company in a group layoff that sets forth the ages and job titles of people laid off and not laid off. This is required by the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act—it makes sense because this data helps an employee and their lawyer see if there was age discrimination in the terminations. Any release that does not set forth the required information is invalid.”

As the Law Journal noted, Console Mattiaci Law “has had a string of victories in age discrimination suits recently, including a $370,000 verdict on behalf of another AT&T employee in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in January 2016 and a $51.5 million verdict in a suit by an engineer for Lockheed Martin in the District of New Jersey in January 2017.”

Console Mattiacci Law Helps Former MLB Pitcher Get Justice

The New Jersey Law Journal reported on June 21 that former Major League Baseball pitcher Mitch Williams was awarded $1.5 million by a state court jury in Camden in his breach of contract suit against MLB Network. “This verdict completely vindicates Mitch Williams, who was viciously defamed by anonymous sources on the internet and then had MLB Network breach its contract with him. Justice was served today,” Williams’ attorney, Laura Carlin Mattiacci of Console Mattiacci Law, said in a statement. Ms. Mattiacci was assisted at trial by Rahul Munshi at trial.