Restaurant Chain Paid Female Managers and Cashiers Less Than Males, Federal Agency Says
PHILADELPHIA -- Market Burgers, L.L.C., doing business as Checkers, a fast food restaurant chain, violated federal law by paying women less than men and scheduling them for fewer hours than their male counterparts because of gender, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
EEOC General Counsel David Lopez said, "This case demonstrates the significance of the agency's strategic enforcement plan, reminding employers that the agency will exercise its authority to eliminate sex-based wage disparities in the workplace."
According to the EEOC's suit, LaToya Snyder began working as a cashier/sandwich maker at the company's Checkers restaurant in West Philadelphia and was promoted to a shift manager position in 2010. The EEOC charges that Checkers routinely paid Snyder and other female shift managers lower wages than male shift managers even though they performed the same duties, including giving assignments and directions to other employees and scheduling and approving breaks. Checkers also paid female cashiers/sandwich makers less than their male counterparts even though they did substantially equal work, according to the lawsuit.
The EEOC further charges that Checkers suppressed the wages of Snyder and other female shift managers and cashiers/sandwich makers by scheduling them for 20 to 25 hours per week, even though they had requested full-time hours, while their male counterparts routinely were scheduled to work, on average, more than 30 hours per week. The general manager also required female employees to leave work early if the restaurant was not busy while male employees were permitted to work a full eight-hour shift.
Such alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Market Burgers, L.L.C., d/b/a Checkers, Civil Action No. 13-cv-4651) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking injunctive relief prohibiting Checkers from paying female employees lower compensation than their male counterparts for performing equal work. The agency also seeks equitable relief that provides equal employment opportunities for women, as well as lost wages, compensatory and punitive damages and other affirmative relief for Snyder and other similarly situated female employees who were harmed by the restaurant's discriminatory conduct.
"These women were subjected to a double whammy of discrimination," said District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr., of the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office. "They were paid a lower hourly wage and regularly scheduled for fewer work hours than their male counterparts. That's why we redoubled our efforts to win justice for them."
EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, "The EEOC is strongly committed to enforcing the equal pay laws and will take whatever action necessary to defend people's rights in the workplace."
Enforcement of equal pay laws and targeting compensation systems and practices that discriminate based on gender is of one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov. The Philadelphia District Office of the EEOC oversees Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.