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EEOC Sues Worcester County for Pay Discrimination

County Paid Female Liquor Store Clerks Less Than Male Coworkers, Federal Agency Says

BALTIMORE - Worcester County, Md., violated federal law when it paid female retail clerks at county-operated liquor stores less than their male counterparts because of gender, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.

The EEOC charges that the Worcester County Department of Liquor Control paid Donna Smith, Kylesha Conner, Sharee Dale less wages than male retail clerks, even though they were doing substantially equal work under similar working conditions. 

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits discrimination in compensation based on sex.  The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division, Civil Action No. 1:12-cv-02595-CCB, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC seeks injunctive relief prohibiting Worcester County from further discriminating against women with respect to their compensation and from paying female employees lower compensation, based on sex, than their male comparators for performing equal work.  The lawsuit also seeks lost wages and liquidated damages for Smith, Conner and Dale. 

"Unfortunately, nearly 50 years since the passage of the Equal Pay Act, pay discrimination against women remains a significant problem in the public sector, as well as in the private sector," said Spencer H. Lewis, Jr., district director of the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office, which oversees Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. 

EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, "As a member agency of President Obama's Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force, the EEOC will take appropriate action to address and rectify sex-based wage discrimination in the workplace."  

The EEOC's Philadelphia District Office oversees Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.  

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at