Press Release 03-18-2021

First Metropolitan Financial Services to Pay $100,000 to Settle EEOC Pay Discrimination Lawsuit

Female Branch Manager Paid Less Than Males in Same Position, Federal Agency Charged

TUPELO, Miss. – First Metropolitan Financial Services, Inc. has agreed to pay $100,000 to resolve a pay discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

First Metropolitan operates a consumer loan and finance company in various towns across north Mississippi and in Bolivar and Memphis, Tenn. The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that First Metropolitan paid the female branch managers lower salaries than male branch managers, despite the male and female branch managers performing substantially similar tasks and responsibilities under similar circumstances.

First Metropolitan’s alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act (EPA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, (Title VII) which prohibit pay discrimination on the basis of sex. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Aberdeen Division (Civil Action No.1:18-cv-00177) after attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the monetary relief for two former employees, the two-year consent decree settling the suit, entered by Chief Judge Sharion Aycock, requires First Metropolitan to create an equal pay policy, end its practice of inquiring about applicants’ prior earning history during the pre-employment hiring process, and conduct training on the EPA and Title VII.

“We are approaching the 58th anniversary of the EPA, which was signed into law by President John F. Kennedy to end pay disparity based on sex,” said Faye Williams, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office. “For many women, that dream has not been realized. The EEOC remains committed to ensuring that employers do not take advantage of women based on inferior negotiating positions or their status as wives or mothers. The EPA requires just what it says -- equal pay for equal work.”

Edmond Sims, acting district director of the Memphis District Office, said, “The Memphis District Office is pleased with the outcome of this case. It sends a clear message to employers that men and women deserve equal pay for equal work. Failure to do so may result in litigation.”

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.