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Press Release 09-27-2017

EEOC Files Three Lawsuits in D.C. Metro Area Charging Sex-Based Pay Discrimination

Unrelated Suits Name George Washington University, National Association for the Education of Young Children, and Total Quality Building Services for Equal Pay Violations

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed three lawsuits yesterday and today alleging wage discrimination against female workers. The lawsuits are part of the EEOC's ongoing effort to combat sex discrimination in pay.

In a lawsuit filed against George Washington University in U.S. District Court for the District of Washington, D.C., Civil Action No. 1:17-cv-01978, the EEOC charged that GWU unlawfully paid Sara Williams less than a male employee to work as the executive assistant to the university's athletics director, Patrick Nero. The suit also alleged that the university failed to promote Williams and subjected her to disparate terms and conditions of employment because of her sex.

In a second lawsuit filed in the same federal district court in Washington, Civil Action No. 17-cv-01989, the EEOC charged that the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), a professional membership organization, violated paid Denni Johnson, a female associate editor, at a lower rate than her male counterpart.

Finally, in a suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria Division), Civil Action No. 17-cv-01083-TSE-IDD_, the EEOC contended that Vador Ventures Inc., dba Total Quality Building Services, which provides janitorial services to commercial buildings, paid Sonia Rivera, a day porter, less than her male co-worker in the same job, and fired her in retaliation for complaining about the unequal wages.

All this alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibit sex-based compensation discrimination and retaliation for opposing or complaining about it.

The EEOC filed these suits after first attempting to reach pre-litigation settlements through its conciliation process. The agency is seeking back pay, compensatory, punitive, and liquidated damages, as well as injunctive relief to remedy the employers' discriminatory compensation practices and to ensure that no further discrimination takes place.

"As these lawsuits demonstrate, the problem of sex discrimination in pay can affect a wide range of industries and job types," said Mindy E. Weinstein, acting director of the EEOC's Washington Field Office. "But the law is clear -- women must be paid the same as men for equal work, unless the employer can justify the difference in pay."

Philadelphia District Office Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence said, "The EEOC is committed to addressing pay discrimination in the workplace through education, enforcement, and, when necessary, litigation."

Enforcement of equal pay laws, including 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.

The Washington Field Office has jurisdiction over the District of Columbia; the Virginia counties of Arlington, Clarke, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford and Warren; and the independent Virginia cities of Alexandria, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park and Winchester.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.