Over 50 years ago, it was made a law that men and women should be paid equally for equal work, yet gender discrimination is still a daily occurrence in America.
On September 27th, a lawsuit was filed against the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland (also known as the Pratt) for failing to provide equal pay to male and female employees. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is suing the library, Baltimore’s mayor – Catherine Pugh – and the City Council on these grounds.
The EEOC enforces federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or employee because of the individual’s race, color, religion, or sex, amongst other genetic information. Their headquarters is in Washington D.C.
The Pratt allegedly violated federal law, and their own internal hiring process, when they hired a man to fill the position of a librarian supervisor, or “Librarian Supervisor I,” as described on the Pratt’s website. There was no vacancy for this type of job at the time, and the man was placed in a branch that already had a library supervisor. This new employee was then paid over $6,000 more than four other women who already held this same position at the library. All of these women had more years of library experience than the new male employee.
This conduct violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963. The EPA states, “No employer shall discriminate between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees at a rate less than the rate at which he pays wages to employees of the opposite sex for equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions.”
According to Debra M. Lawrence, an EEOC Regional Attorney, the women “performed the same duties as their male co-worker and had more years of experience but were paid thousands less simply because of their gender.”
Andre Davis, a Baltimore City solicitor who has not reviewed the case yet, has assured the media that the city of Baltimore is committed to providing Baltimore citizens with equal pay and opportunities.
“Mayor Pugh and the city are absolutely committed to equal treatment of any and all, and particularly equal treatment of women in the workplace,” he said. “We intend to review the lawsuit, confer with the EEOC and resolve the matter in an appropriate way. The new director of the Enoch Pratt is every bit as much committed to equality in the workplace as is the mayor and all city agencies.”
Although the EEOC had attempted to settle the matter through a mediation process, it was decided that filing suit against the Pratt would lead to better results. The Pratt’s spokesperson, Meghan McCorkell, has said that library officials cannot comment on this case for the time being.
We hope that this case will be settled in favor of the women facing this shameful discrimination.
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