Trucking Company Fired Female Driver Because She Complained About Pay Discrimination, Federal Agency Charges
BALTIMORE - Winebrenner Transfer, Inc., a Hagerstown, Md.-based commercial trucking company, will pay $42,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to resolve a lawsuit for retaliation filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC charged that Tina Thompson, a truck driver, believed she was paid less than male drivers based on discussions she had with her male co-workers about differences in compensation. Thompson complained several times about perceived pay discrimination. The company's owner fired Thompson one day after she sent him a text message saying she believed she was paid less than male co-workers for the same work because she was female, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Winebrenner Transfer, Inc., Civil Action No. 1-13-cv-02797 (GLR)) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The $42,000 monetary relief represents full back pay in the amount of $21,000 and liquidated damages of $21,000. In addition to the monetary relief, Winebrenner Transfer is enjoined from engaging in future retaliation in violation of the Equal Pay Act or Title VII. The trucking company will implement and disseminate an anti-discrimination policy and complaint procedure to all employees and applicants. Winebrenner Transfer's owner and vice president will take an anti-discrimination training course. Winebrenner Transfer will also post a remedial notice regarding the settlement.
"Addressing gender-based pay discrimination and eliminating employment practices that discourage individuals from exercising their rights under our statutes are two of the agency's national priority issues," said EEOC Philadelphia Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. "To stamp out pay discrimination, it is vital that employees can raise pay concerns with their boss without suffering from reprisal."
EEOC Philadelphia District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. added, "If an employee complains about pay discrimination, or any form of illegal discrimination, the best course of action for the employer is to investigate and take appropriate action to correct the situation. Everyone loses if an employer acts rashly and fires someone for complaining about pay discrimination, including the employer, who may then face an EEOC investigation or lawsuit."
The Philadelphia District Office of the EEOC oversees Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.
Enforcement of equal pay laws and targeting compensation systems and practices that discriminate based on gender and eliminating policies and practices that discourage or prohibit individuals from exercising their rights under employment discrimination statutes, or that impede the EEOC's investigative or enforcement efforts, are two the six national priorities identified by the agency's Strategic Enforcement Plan.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available at its website, www.eeoc.gov.