- A former U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission employee can go to trial for a lawsuit alleging the agency paid her, a Black woman, less than a White man for performing the same duties, a federal judge said Wednesday (Hardiman v. Lipnic, No. 1:18-cv-05702 (N.D. Ill., March 15, 2023)). The EEOC deferred to the U.S. Department of Justice when asked for comment. The DOJ could not immediately be reached.
- The former IT specialist in EEOC’s Chicago office sued the commission for allegedly failing to pay her the same as a senior IT specialist, even though she had the same supervision and job duties, such as overseeing an office-wide software migration, as a senior IT specialist.
- “From the evidence [plaintiff] presents, a reasonable juror could find that the EEOC was paying her less for performing the same duties as her white male counterpart. Without an apparent reason in the record to explain this disparity, the EEOC is not entitled to judgment on that claim,” Judge Judge John J. Tharp, Jr. ordered. “The jury will be in the best position to watch the watchmen.”
The EEOC is tasked with enforcing federal laws that ban discrimination in the workplace over race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability and genetic information. But, in this case, the EEOC is the defendant.
The commission typically brings lawsuits against companies for claims of discrimination in the workplace but is uniquely not in a position to do so in this case, the judge said.
In November, Baltimore auto dealerships settled an EEOC lawsuit alleging they paid a female warehouse dispatcher nearly $800 less than a male dispatcher for doing the same work and failed to give the female worker a monthly bonus the male co-worker received. EEOC alleged the dealerships violated the Equal Pay Act, which requires employees receive equal pay for equal work.
Similarly, in January 2022, the EEOC alleged a Wisconsin school district paid nine female special education teachers anywhere from $5,000 to $17,000 less than their male colleagues, even though the female teacher had comparable experience. The EEOC said the school district was in violation of the Equal Pay Act.