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Press Release 09-28-2022

EEOC Sues University of Texas at Permian Basin Under The Equal Pay Act

Female Accounting Professor Paid Less than Male Professors for the Same Work, Federal Agency Charges

MIDLAND, Texas – The University of Texas at Permian Basin violated the Equal Pay Act by paying lesser wages to a female assistant/associate professor of accounting than it paid to two males hired to perform the same job, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today. 

The female professor began her employment on the UTPB Midland campus during the 2015-16 academic year. Her job duties included teaching at least three courses in the fall and three courses in the spring, making sufficient intellectual contributions to maintain scholarly academic status, advising students, and other service-related activities for the University.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, during her employment with UTPB, two other male professors in the same department performing the same duties were paid higher wages. After she complained about the unequal wages and filed a charge with the EEOC, UTPB lowered her performance evaluations. 

Such alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which prohibits discrimination in compensation on the basis of sex.  EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Midland Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. University of Texas at Permian Basin, Civil Action No. 7:22-cv-00210  after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The agency seeks back pay to remedy the pay disparity. The EEOC is also seeking liquidated damages due to the willfulness in not paying the female professor a commensurate wage even after she brought the matter to the attention of management. Injunctive relief to promote non-discriminatory pay practices will also be sought as part of the suit. 

"Energetically enforcing equal pay laws is a currently one of the national strategic priorities for the Commission," said EEOC Regional Attorney Robert A. Canino. “It is important that our places of higher education fairly and equitably remedy gender-based pay disparities.”

“UTPB failed to properly pay the professor for her important work in teaching the students at its Midland campus,” said Suzanne Anderson, Assistant Regional Attorney for the EEOC. “University management did not respond properly when she complained about the pay equity issue. As she continued to teach at UTPB, the wage gap between her and the two male professors widened. EEOC will continue to advocate for compliance with the EPA to ensure that employees are paid equally when they perform substantially equal work.”

For more information about equal pay and compensation, see:

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