New EEOC Case Illustrates that Gender Wage Gap is Still Wide as Ever
A recently settled EEOC case shines more light on the issue of unequal pay between male and female American workers.
The case involved Royal Tire, Inc., a Minnesota corporation, that was alleged to have paid a female executive tens of thousands of dollars less than her male counterparts. Not only was the female employee receiving a significant amount less than male employees, but the suit also charged that the woman was being paid $19,000 less than the minimum requirement for her title under Royal Tire’s compensation structure.
From the EEOC:
[B]etween January 2008 and June 2011, Royal Tire discriminated against its female human resources director, Christine Fellman-Wolf, by paying her lower wages than it paid a male employee who held the very same position. The EEOC’s investigation showed that when Fellman-Wolf became HR director she was paid $35,000 less per year than her male predecessor, and $19,000 less than the minimum salary for the position under Royal Tire’s own compensation system. Fellman-Wolf complained about the disparity and asked to be compensated fairly, but Royal Tire did not make up the difference.
The suit, which very correctly alleged violations of both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Equal Pay Act, was settled on July 31, 2014, with Royal Tire agreeing to pay $182,500 and submitting to a detailed consent decree:
In addition to substantial monetary relief to Fellman-Wolf, Royal Tire must comply with the three-year consent decree, which contains an injunction prohibiting the company from any future discriminating based on sex, paying men and women different wages for doing equal work, and retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under federal law. Additionally, the consent decree requires Royal Tire to evaluate its pay structure to ensure compliance with the Equal Pay Act and Title VII, and if it discovers employees who are being paid less than required by law, it must immediately raise the wages for those employees. The decree requires training for Royal Tire’s managers and employees under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII, and allows the EEOC to monitor Royal Tire’s compliance with the decree. Royal Tire must report to the EEOC any complaints it receives about pay discrimination and provide information on how it handles those complaints.
This case, which also follows an EEOC report made earlier this year about gender inequality in federal government positions, very clearly shows that the gender equality battle still has many more miles left to go. If you feel that you are not being compensated fairly, you should seek legal counsel immediately to learn what remedies you have available to you.