It may seem like in this day and age, it is recognized that men and women should be paid equally if they do equal work. However, that doesn't stop some employers from unlawfully using job classification as a means for paying a female employee less than a male employee, even if the two have the same job duties.
Following a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigation, a Minnesota school district and a former female employee of the school district have reached a settlement in an equal pay discrimination claim in which the employee will receive $50,000 will have her position reclassified.
According to the EEOC, the school district was not paying the woman, who was classified as a custodial aid at the school, wages equivalent to a male employee who was classified as a custodian, despite the fact that the two positions involved job duties that required the same responsibilities, effort and skills. The EEOC stated that the those in the woman's custodial aide position received hourly pay, which was less than 50 percent of what custodians, who were salaried, were paid. The EEOC stated that reasonable cause existed to support the argument that the school district had run afoul of federal law, specifically Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963. The woman will receive $50,000 and her position will be classified as a custodian, for which she will be paid appropriately.
The school district disagrees with the EEOC's reasoning. They stated they settled because they decided that the woman acted above and beyond her job duties as they had been classified. Therefore, the school district determined that the worker deserved a higher ranking and more pay. The school denies intentionally discriminating against the woman.
Whether intentional or not, it is up to employers to see that they are not violating the law. If they do commit illegal workplace discrimination, an employee may have legal options, including filing a claim with the EEOC. Not only can doing so be one means an employee can seek compensation, but in some cases, that is the only way to uphold employee rights and see positive change in a workplace where discrimination is taking place.
Source: Inforum, "Minnesota school to pay $50,000 to settle equal pay discrimination case," Kari Lucin, Sept. 13, 2016