Press Release 12-29-2020

EEOC Wins Judgment Against Enoch Pratt Free Library and Baltimore City for Pay Discrimination

Court Awards Nearly $200,000 to Five Female Librarian Supervisors

BALTIMORE – On Dec 23, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland ruled that Baltimore City and its Enoch Pratt Free Library violated federal law by paying female Librarian Supervisor Is lower wages than a male coworker because of sex.  The ruling followed a five-day virtual bench trial which occurred September 28 through October 2.

According to the suit filed in September 2017, Enoch Pratt Library rehired a male in June 2015 as a Librarian Supervisor I at a salary which was thousands more than that paid to the five females who held that position even though the male had fewer years of service and experience.  U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis rejected the Library’s argument that the male and female Librarian Supervisor Is did not perform the same work, noting that the Library treats Librarian Supervisor Is as “fungible” by not recruiting for specific branches and transferring them from branch to branch on short and long-term bases.  Judge Xinis also rejected the Library’s argument that the salary disparity was based on a reason unrelated to sex, finding that the Library had failed to produce any evidence to explain the male’s higher salary. 

In addition to awarding full back pay to the five female Librarian Supervisor Is, Judge Xinis also awarded liquidated damages in an amount equal because the defendants failed to show that the pay disparity was in good faith and that they had reasonable grounds to believe that they were not violating the law. The Court also ordered appropriate adjustments to the females’ retirement benefits in light of the award of back wages.

“The City and Library had numerous missed opportunities to equally compensate these long-term female employees, but instead chose to litigate the matter,” said Assistant General Counsel Maria Salacuse.  “The Court’s judgment validates that their work is of equal value.”

“This ruling is a significant reminder to employers, including public employers, that they have a responsibility to ensure that their employees are paid equally for equal work,” said EEOC Philadelphia Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. 

Philadelphia District Director Jamie R. Williamson said, “The EEOC remains committed to eradicating sex-based wage discrimination. Employers must pay women equal wages for equal work."

Ensuring equal pay protections for all workers is one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan.

The EEOC’s Baltimore Field Office is one of four offices in the Philadelphia District Office, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.

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