Female Employee Was Then Fired for Complaining About Pay Disparity, Federal Agency Charges
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - CJMBS Pharmacies, Inc., dba Community Pharmacy, a pharmacy chain in north San Diego County, violated federal law when it paid a female pharmacy technician substantially less than a male pharmacy technician and then fired her two days after she complained about discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to EEOC's lawsuit, both pharmacy technicians were performing the same job at the same location, but the female was paid less than her male co-worker. EEOC contends that from October 2013 until January 2016, Community Pharmacy paid the female employee upwards of four dollars an hour less than the male employee. EEOC also charged that within two days of the female employee complaining of sex discrimination, she was fired.
Such alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963. EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (EEOC v. CJMBS Pharmacies, Inc. d/b/a Community Pharmacy, Case No. 3:16-cv-02410) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. EEOC's suit seeks back pay and liquidated damages, along with compensatory and punitive damages for the female employee, as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent and address discrimination of any type.
"EEOC is committed to enforcing federal laws to ensure women receive equal pay for equal work," said Anna Park, regional attorney for EEOC's Los Angeles District, whose jurisdiction includes San Diego County. "Firing an employee for complaining about discrimination only compounds the problem."
Christopher Green, director of EEOC's San Diego Local Office, added, "Employees deserve equal pay, regardless of their sex. It is unfortunate that some employers still do not adhere to that clear and crucial principle."
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 Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
EEOC is the federal government agency responsible for enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. Further information about EEOC is available on the agency's website at www.eeoc.gov.