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Press Release 08-30-2023

University of Texas, Permian Basin to Settle EEOC Equal Pay Suit

Settles Federal Charges It Paid Female Accounting Professor Less Than Male Professors for Substantially Equal Work

MIDLAND, Texas – The University of Texas, Permian Basin has agreed to pay $46,000 in damages and to furnish other relief in order to settle a pay discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the University of Texas, Permian Basin (UTPB) violated the Equal Pay Act (EPA) by paying lesser wages to a female associate professor of accounting than it paid to two males hired to perform substantially equal work. The female professor began her employment on the UTPB Midland campus during the 2015-16 academic year. UTPB hired two male assistant professors of accounting for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years and paid them higher wages than the female associate professor although all performed and were responsible for substantially equal work. UTPB also lowered the female associate professor’s performance evaluation in retaliation for her internal complaints about the pay differential, as well as for her decision to file a charge with the EEOC.

The alleged conduct violated the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits discrimination in compensation on the basis of sex. The 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 three-year consent decree settling the suit, entered August 30, 2023, prohibits future sex-based pay discrimination and retaliation against employees for opposing sex-based pay discrimination. In addition to the monetary relief, the decree requires University of Texas, Permian Basin to revise its written faculty compensation policy and provide annual training on the subject of sex-based pay discrimination for all employees who are involved in decisions about faculty compensation.

“We are pleased University of Texas, Permian Basin worked cooperatively with the EEOC to resolve the issues in this case.” said EEOC Trial Attorney Esha Rajendran. The EEOC will continue to vigorously enforce the EPA and fight pay discrimination based on sex.”

“It is important for institutions of higher learning to make regular efforts to assess and address pay equity issues,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Robert A. Canino. “Best practices can serve as an example for other career fields as well.”

The San Antonio Field Office is part of the EEOC’s Dallas District Office, which is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Texas and parts of New Mexico.

For more information about equal pay and compensation, see:

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