The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



Art Supply Stores Must Provide National Statistical Data and Information Regarding Pay Disparity Allegations

LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that Aaron Brothers, Inc. (Aaron Brothers) must provide nationwide statistical pay data, according to a ruling by U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz. The EEOC issued a subpoena during the course of a nationwide investigation into the company to determine if the retailer discriminated against female managers by paying them less than their male counterparts.

The EEOC filed its action (EEOC vs. Aaron Brothers Inc., et al, Case No. CV 07-5315 AHM (FMOx)) in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California located in Los Angeles after the employer failed to fully comply with the EEOC’s investigatory subpoena.

In its decision, the court highlighted the “relatively low threshold for enforcing an administrative subpoena,” stating that the EEOC can request any information that is relevant and material to the investigation.

After acknowledging that the EEOC’s request for broad, nationwide data was relevant and material to its investigation, the court placed on the employer the “difficult burden of showing that the subpoena is overbroad or will place an undue burden on Aaron Brothers.” Because Aaron Brothers did not meet this difficult burden, the court ordered production of information for Aaron Brothers stores nationwide.

“This subpoena enforcement action makes clear that the EEOC will not back down when investigating claims of systemic compensation discrimination,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Anna Y. Park in Los Angeles. “The court properly ruled that the EEOC has the right to obtain nationwide compensation data to determine if a violation of federal law occurred.”

Aaron Brothers stores offer ready-made frames and mattes, art supplies, and custom framing services and operates more than 150 stores in about 10 states, mostly in Texas and the western United States.

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

This page was last modified on June 8, 2009.

Home Return to Home Page