Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
In October 2018, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – the agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination – announced that Denton County in Texas will pay $115,000 to a female former county doctor after a federal court ruled in favor of the EEOC in an equal pay discrimination lawsuit, according to a press release from the EEOC.
The lawsuit claimed Dr. Martha C. Storrie worked as Primary Care Clinician in the Denton County Public Health Department starting in October 2008. In August 2015, Denton County hired a male physician to perform the same duties as her but set his starting annual salary at more than $34,000 higher than hers and then failed to take remedial measures in response to Storrie’s complaint about unequal pay.
The alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibit unequal pay disparities based on gender as opposed to factors such as qualifications and job duties. The Equal Pay Act makes it unlawful for employers to pay women less than men for a job requiring the same skill, effort, and responsibility, performed under similar working conditions.
The final judgment and order issued by Federal District Judge Amos L. Mazzant III awarded Dr. Storrie $115,000 in damages and requires Denton County to implement a new written policy regarding the compensation policy for all new physicians in the public health department in Denton County. Denton County also must provide training on equal pay for women and the posting of a notice at its facilities.
“Dr. Storrie was a very well qualified and competent physician for Denton County,” EEOC Dallas District Office Supervisory Trial Attorney Suzanne M. Anderson stated in the press release about the ruling. “She received cards and letters from many of her patients, thanking her for her competent and caring treatment, so she expressed surprise when she learned the county paid her less than the new hire.”
This case EEOC v. Denton County (Civil Action No. 4:17-CV-614) is not the first time the EEOC has sued over equal pay for women. In August 2018, ESR News reported that the EEOC filed a lawsuit that claimed a school district in Kansas violated the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by paying women and men unequally for doing a job with the same required skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions.
The EEOC lawsuit stated that Julie Rosenquist was hired by Unified School District 245 LeRoy-Gridley (USD 245) to be the principal in 2015. While her male predecessor was paid salary of $50,000, she was paid 90 percent of that, or $45,000. In 2016, Rosenquist was given a small raise to $46,500. In 2017, after she was replaced by a male who was paid $50,000, Rosenquist filed a complaint with the EEOC.
Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show that women earned 80 percent of what men earned in 2015. The gender wage gap between men and women has narrowed by less than one-half a penny per year in the United States since 1963, when Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, the first law aimed at prohibiting gender-based pay discrimination, according to the National Committee on Pay Equity.
The fact that that several cities and states in the U.S. have passed laws prohibiting salary history questions by employers about job applicants as part of an equal pay movement to narrow the gender wage gap between women and men is one of the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2018 selected by leading global background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR).
“When employers have a background screening firm perform past employment verifications, it is critical that the screening firm has the knowledge about states and cities that prohibit salary history questions to help ensure equal pay as well as software that helps facilities compliance,” explains Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ESR and author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual.’
ESR Past Employment Verifications Comply with Equal Pay Laws
Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – leading global background check firm – performs primary source verification of current and previous employment that provides confirmation of position held, beginning and end dates, and the rate of pay only if permissible under current state and local equal pay laws. To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com/Background-Checks/Verifications-References/.
NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.
© 2018 Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – Making copies or using of any part of the ESR News Blog or ESR website for any purpose other than your own personal use is prohibited unless written authorization is first obtained from ESR.