Sexual harassment and workplace discrimination often go hand in hand. Employees who endure sexual harassment are often the same employees that are discriminated against by their employer. The term sexual harassment encompasses a variety of actions, all of which include an employee enduring unwelcomed based on his or her gender.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently decided a case that included both sexual harassment and workplace discrimination. The case was filed by two female employees. The two employees were directors within their department. The two female employees were paid a significantly lesser amount than their male counterparts. The two female employees claimed they received lower pay than their male counterparts even though they completed substantially equal work as their male counterparts.
The EEOC determined this type of wage discrepancy constituted sex-based wage discrimination and violated federal laws. The federal laws cited were the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, both of which provide employee protections. The employer attempted to settle the lawsuit through the conciliation process. The conciliation process is a form of alternative dispute resolution that provides a forum for the parties to discuss a settlement before the case goes to trial.
The two female employees rejected the pre-litigation settlement and the case continued to trial. The case ended with the employer paying $260,000 for the discriminatory acts. In addition to the monetary payment, the employer is also required to post anti-discrimination notices, change its non-discrimination policies and provide an annual report to the EEOC regarding the implemented changes.
Source: The Job Mouse, “Health Management Group to Pay $260,000 to Settle EEOC Wage Discrimination Suit,” Anneline Waldman, May 8, 2012