Health Care Firm to Pay $104,707 to Settle EEOC Equal Pay Discrimination Suit

ESR News

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On September 4, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – a federal agency that advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination – announced that a non-profit health care system would pay $104,707 and provide other relief to settle an equal pay wage discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC, according to a press release from the EEOC.

According to the EEOC lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on March 11, 2020, Covenant Medical Center, Inc., doing business as Covenant HealthCare and based in Saginaw, Michigan, violated the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) by paying a female business intelligence developer a lower salary than two males who held the same job and performed the same work.

The EEOC and Covenant HealthCare resolved the lawsuit by entering into a two-year consent decree. In addition to the monetary relief, the decree requires Covenant HealthCare to increase the female employee’s salary, revise its compensation policies to ensure compliance with the EPA and Title VII, train managers on compensation discrimination, and post a notice to inform employees of their rights under both federal statutes.

“As a matter of practice, companies should routinely assess their compensation policies to ensure that they compensate their employees lawfully,” EEOC Trial Attorney Karen L. Brooks stated in the press release. about the lawsuit EEOC v. Covenant HealthCare, 2:20-cv-10662-MAG-RSW. “If men and women are performing the same work, federal and state law, as well as common fairness, insist they be equally paid – without regard to gender.”

According to the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE), the gender wage gap has narrowed by less than one-half a penny per year in the United States since Congress passed the EPA in 1963. Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that women earned 80 percent of what men earned in 2015. As a result, laws prohibiting employers from asking about salary history have increased to narrow the gender pay gap.

As of September 2020, salary history question bans exist in many major American cities. In addition, Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin have passed statewide laws. HRDive keeps a list of states and localities that have salary history bans.

Several businesses settled equal pay discrimination lawsuits filed by the EEOC for thousands of dollars in 2019. This growing trend will cause employers to focus on salary history question bans in 2020 that promote equal pay between men and women, according to the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2020 compiled by leading global background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR).

In October 2019, a health care firm paid $50,000 for paying female nurses less than a male nurse. In May 2019, a school district paid $11,250 for paying a female principal less than male principals. In April 2019, a manufacturer paid $77,500 for paying a female employee less than a male employee. In January 2019, an insurance firm paid $36,802 for paying female investigators less than male investigators. In February 2020, a firm paid $20,000.

“When an employer has a background screening firm perform past employment verifications, it is critical that firm knows which cities, counties, and states prohibit salary history questions, or else that employer could be fined,” explained background check expert Attorney Lester Rosen, the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) and the author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual.’

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check provider – offers employers flexible and customizable employment verifications that provide the salary history of applicants only if permitted by state and local equal pay laws. ESR’s three levels of verifications afford our clients the flexibility to customize their verifications through unique business rules. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

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.

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