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Press Release 11-10-2011

Amtrak to Pay $171,483 to Settle EEOC Sex/Wage Discrimination Suit

National Rail Carrier Underpaid Director Then Retaliated Against Her for Complaining, Federal Agency Charged

PHILADELPHIA – Amtrak,  the nation's largest rail carrier, will pay $171,483, raise the salary of a female  human resources manager, and furnish other relief to settle a sex-based wage  discrimination and retaliation lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment  Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.

The EEOC charged that the National  Railroad Passenger Corporation, also known as Amtrak, violated Title VII by  engaging in a long-standing pattern of unlawful sex discrimination against a  human resources regional director, Sheila Davidson, who works at the carrier's 30th Street  Station facility in Philadelphia. The EEOC said that Amtrak suppressed  Davidson's pay while she served as the human resources director for the eastern  region, while giving her a greater workload than it gave to her two male  counterparts, who were also human resources regional directors. The EEOC further alleged that, after refusing  to raise Davidson's salary above that of her male counterparts despite her  heavier workload, Amtrak immediately increased the pay of one of the males when  he was assigned to the eastern region, which was formerly Davidson's territory.

The EEOC also contended that Amtrak violated  Title VII and the Equal Pay Act by unlawfully retaliating against Davidson,  including barring her from senior staff meetings, after she complained internally  about the wage discrimination and later filed a charge with the EEOC.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act  of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibit discrimination in compensation  based on sex. Title VII was amended in  2009 by the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 to enable women to bring  claims of pay discrimination within 300 days of when they learn of  discriminatory pay practices. Both Title  VII and the EPA prohibit employers from retaliating against an employee who  complains about pay discrimination or files a charge of discrimination with the  EEOC.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern  District of Pennsylvania (Civil Action No. 2:11-cv-00692) after first  attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation  process.

In addition to  the $171,483 monetary settlement to be paid to Davidson, Amtrak will increase her  annual salary by $16,505 to match it to that now earned by the male colleague  whose salary was raised when he was assigned to Davidson's former territory. The two-year consent decree resolving the  lawsuit also prohibits Amtrak from engaging in any further sex discrimination  or retaliation and requires the rail carrier to provide four hours of training  to senior human resources staff on anti-discrimination laws, as well as post a remedial  notice at Amtrak's six regional offices and corporate headquarters.

"As a member  agency of the President's Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force, the EEOC is committed to taking  appropriate action to remedy sex-based wage discrimination and to ensuring that  employees who exercise their federal rights to protest pay discrimination are  not subjected to unlawful retaliation," said Spencer H. Lewis, Jr., director of  the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office, which oversees Pennsylvania, West  Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.

EEOC  Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence added, "In  addition to the significant monetary relief, Amtrak will raise Ms. Davidon's  salary so it is on par with her male counterparts and commensurate with her  duties. We are pleased that Amtrak  worked with us to resolve this lawsuit expeditiously without engaging in  costly litigation."

In fiscal year 2010, private sector  workplace discrimination charge filings with the EEOC hit an unprecedented  level of 99,922, which included a record-high number of retaliation charges  (36,258) and sex discrimination charges (29,029).

According  to its website,, Amtrak  operates a nationwide rail network, serving more than 500 destinations in 46  states and three Canadian provinces on more than 21,200 miles of routes, with  more than 20,000 employees.

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