New Jersey Could Have Had Equal Pay If Not For Chris Christie

Written by SK Ashby

The New Jersey state legislature passed an equal pay bill that would prohibit employers from paying women less money if they possesses the same level of education and experience as men who perform "substantially similar" work. The bill was very clear and specific, but Governor Chris Christie vetoed it yesterday evening.

The very clear and specific bill went too far, Christie said, because it would make Jersey unattractive to business.

"This is nonsensical and makes New Jersey very business unfriendly," Christie said. "While I support an explicit prohibition on wage discrimination on the basis of gender, I recognize that identification of unlawful wage discrimination requires an intensive fact-based evaluation of the workplace and positions. This bill eliminates that requirement. That is wrong."

One wonders if Governor Christie actually read the bill he vetoed which explicitly outlines in painstaking detail the requirements for providing equal pay.

Christie may say he supports equal pay in spirit, but he has called-out and vetoed mechanisms that would actually enforce it. In this case, he vetoed a mechanism that would allow women to collect increased damages if they received equal pay simply because of their gender.

I suppose this would make New Jersey "very business unfriendly" if your definition of "friendly" is the freedom to throw women under the bus.

He would still be wrong if he hadn't, but Christie should not have justified his veto by saying it's too hard on business or that it would make New Jersey a "liberal outlier." These are not substantive arguments.

The good news is there's a chance the state legislature will be able to override Governor Christie's veto because the legislation passed through both chambers by healthy margins.