Car Dealership Fires Female Dispatcher Who Complained About Unequal Pay, Federal Agency Says
BALTIMORE – Jerry’s Chevrolet, Inc., an automobile dealership in Baltimore, violated federal law when it paid a female dispatcher lower wages than a male dispatcher and then fired her about one week after she complained about the pay disparity, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
According to the EEOC’s suit, Jerry’s paid a female warehouse dispatcher lower wages than it paid a male warehouse dispatcher, even though the woman had about six months more company seniority than the man did. When the female dispatcher found out about the pay disparity in September 2020, she complained to the car dealership’s director of human resources and requested higher pay.
The EEOC charges that the director of human resources said he “would look into it,” but instead abruptly fired her one week later, purportedly for making an inappropriate joke. The female dispatcher reminded the director that a few weeks earlier, the car dealership learned about another employee viewing pornography at his desk but simply wrote him up. The director of human resources replied, “Well, that’s different.” The EEOC says that the real reason for the female dispatcher’s termination was retaliation for her complaint about the compensation discrimination.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which requires that employees performing work requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility and under similar working conditions be paid the same wage rate for that work regardless of sex. Title VII and the EPA also prohibit an employer from retaliating against employees who complain about pay discrimination. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Jerry’s Chevrolet, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:21-cv-02464) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay, liquidated damages, compensatory damages, punitive damages and injunctive relief to prevent future wage discrimination against females and retaliation.
“Female workers in all industries deserve equal pay for equal work,” said EEOC Philadelphia Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “Workers have the right to ask about perceived pay discrimination without being fired as a result and that is why we filed this lawsuit.”
EEOC Philadelphia District Director Jamie R. Williamson added, “The EEOC is committed to enforcing workers’ rights to receive equal pay. This case should remind employers to review their pay practices, correct and remedy any unlawful pay discrimination, and ensure that no worker is retaliated against for exercising their rights protected under federal law.”
Ensuring equal pay protections for all workers is one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan.
The EEOC’s Baltimore Field Office is one of four offices in the Philadelphia District Office, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC.gov)