Female engineer to receive $139,633 in lost wages following discrimination lawsuit
PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. (ABC7) —
A female engineer in Prince George's County will receive tens of thousands of dollars in lost wages.
This comes after a discrimination lawsuit, filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
"It's a great day for women, in the county and throughout the country,” said Prince George’s County’s NAACP Branch President Bob Ross.
“In addition to the $139,633 in lost wages and liquidated damages to Smith, and $5,769 in costs to the EEOC, the three-year consent decree resolving the suit enjoins Prince George's County from engaging in sex-based wage discrimination in the future,” said a spokesperson for the EEOC in a statement released on Monday.
According to the EEOC, the county paid Joanna Smith lower wages than it paid to male colleagues that performed equal work. That is a violation of the Equal Pay Act of 1963.
“The EEOC said the county rebuffed Smith's efforts to negotiate a higher starting salary matching her experience and education, but just two weeks later, hired a male for a comparable Engineer III position and paid him the higher salary he requested, even though they were performing substantially equal work. Prince George's County also promoted and paid a male Engineer III a higher salary than Smith, and paid another male Engineer II higher wages than Smith, even though he had less experience and performed less complex duties, the EEOC charged. Smith continues to work as an Engineer IV within the county's DOE.” – EEOC Statement
"This sends a clear message to employees that they cannot discriminate based around sex,” said Ross. "It serves as an example, pay women the same as you pay men.”
Statement from County Executive Rushern Baker’s office:
"We recognize that the recent ruling by the United States District Court exposed outdated policies and practices in our merit system that are a legacy from decades of our government’s history.
The Baker Administration is committed to ensuring that all employees are compensated equally for their work and will dedicate the resources needed to repair our compensation system. All workers deserve equal pay for their work no matter their personal attributes, such as gender, race or sexual orientation. We will investigate and correct any identified problems so that future administrations have a personnel system that addresses 21st Century approaches to compensation and position Prince George’s County Government as a leader in equal pay for equal work.”