Press Release 01-28-2019

Maryland Insurance Administration to Pay $36,802 to Settle EEOC Equal Pay Act Suit

Female Fraud Investigators Were Paid Less Wages Than Males for Performing Equal Work, Federal Agency Charged

BALTIMORE - The Maryland Insurance Administration, Maryland's agency charged with regulating the insurance industry, will pay $36,802 in monetary relief and furnish important equitable relief to settle a federal pay discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC charged that the Maryland Insurance Administration had paid three female fraud investigators lower salaries than it paid to several male fraud investigators, all performing equal work. According to the lawsuit, the payments were based on gender, which is a violation of the federal Equal Pay Act (EPA).

The EPA prohibits pay discrimination based on sex. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Maryland Insurance Administration, Civil Action No. 1:15-cv-01091) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the $36,802 in back pay and liquidated damages to the employees, the consent decree resolving the lawsuit provides equitable relief, including prohibiting the Maryland Insurance Administration from violating the EPA in the future. The agency must create policies to require specific non-gender-based criteria for setting wages. It will also post a notice specifically outlining its obligations under this statute and report to the EEOC on how it handles any future complaints of sex-based wage discrimination.

"We are pleased that the Maryland Insurance Administration worked closely with us to resolve this case, ensuring a fair result and avoiding further litigation costs," said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. "This settlement protects all employees from sex-based wage discrimination going forward."

Jamie R. Williamson, district director of the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office, added, "Compensating employees without regard to sex benefits the entire workforce, as employees are valued for their work, and not for their gender. We are pleased that the Maryland Insurance Administration cooperated with the EEOC to provide a just resolution for these employees."

Addressing emerging and developing issues in equal employment law, including issues involving the Equal Pay Act, 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 EEOC's Philadelphia District Office, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC 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 Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.