A US company has been ordered to pay $182,500 for wage discrimination against a female HR director, who was paid $35,000 less than her male predecessor, despite holding exactly the same position.
According to a US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) press release, Royal Tire discriminated against Christine Fellman-Wolf by not only paying her less than the man who held the role before her, but also paying her $19,000 less than the minimum salary for the position under the company’s own compensation system.
The EEOC filed a lawsuit against the company for underpaying Fellman-Wolf between January 2008 and June 2011, which was resolved through the US District Court with Royal Tire being ordered to pay the hefty fine and being subject to a detailed consent decree.
The three-year decree includes an injunction prohibiting the company from any future discriminating based on gender, paying men and women different wages for doing equal work and retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under federal law.
Royal Tire also has to evaluate its pay structure to ensure compliance with the law and if it discovers employees who are being paid less than legally required, it must immediately raise their wages.
“Too many employers appear to think that it's enough just to let women in the door, and that no one is going to notice if the money in their pay envelope is less than men's who are doing the same work. Bad guess,” said John C Hendrickson, the EEOC's regional attorney for the Chicago district.
“Employers should know that such pay discrimination is a violation of federal law under two statutes and that it's a top law enforcement priority for the EEOC. That should be the takeaway for employers-and women-who have been watching this case.”