Davis & Davis Enterprise, Inc. and the EEOC recently agreed to settle a wage dispute ad gender discrimination lawsuit.
Davis & Davis Enterprise, Inc. a Maryland-based company that employs security guards, recently agreed to settle a federal sex discrimination lawsuit filed earlier this year by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). What happened, though? Why did the federal agency file the lawsuit against the company in the first place?
According to the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division after the EEOC tried to reach a pre-litigation settlement, Davis & Davis “employs armed security guards at detention centers in Baltimore but also offers its employees occasional opportunities to work as security personnel at events in the Baltimore area.” However, the EEOC alleged the company “paid a small group of female employees a lower wage for such events from October 2016 to March 2018 than male employees performing the same work.”
The federal agency argued the company’s conduct violated the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) as well as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under the EPA, employees “performing work requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility and under similar working conditions must be paid the same wage rate for that work regardless of sex.” Additionally, Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex when it comes to employee compensation.
As part of the two-year consent decree that resolved the suit, Davis & Davis is required to “conduct a self-assessment of its pay practices, including a review and analysis of all wage rates paid during a required reporting period, to ensure the absence of any sex-based pay differential, and report its pay information to the EEOC.” On top of that, the agreement also “enjoins Davis & Davis from committing any future violations of the EPA or Title VII in its compensation,” according to the decree. Additionally, the company must “pay lost wages to the female employees and an equal amount of liquidated damages authorized by the EPA…and conduct training, revise policies, and report to the EEOC any future sex discrimination complaints,” the agreement states.
When commenting on the matter, EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence said:
“While the pay disparities at issue in this litigation were relatively small and occurred over a brief time period, the problem of the wage gap that is experienced by women workers in the United States, particularly women of color, is enormous and persistent…The EEOC will continue to enforce the Equal Pay Act’s requirement of equal pay for equal work in individual cases and to address the broader problem of the sex-based wage gap through its strategic enforcement of federal law.”
Jamie R. Williamson, director of the EEOC Philadelphia District Office, chimed in and said:
“We commend Davis & Davis for working with EEOC to address the unequal pay issues identified in the case. It is important for employers to engage in self-assessment and auditing of pay practices to prevent Equal Pay Act violations and to build positive workplace morale through a commitment to fairness.”