AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Employment & Labor Law for Public Safety Agencies


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Sex Discrimination - Equal Pay & Opportunity Claims

     A county was not entitled to summary judgment on male deputies' federal and state sex discrimination challenge to a policy barring them from supervising female inmates in jails. The county failed to show that there was no genuine issue of material fact as to whether it was entitled to a "bona fide occupational qualification" (BFOQ) defense to the sex discrimination claim. The BFOQ defense could not be established merely by deferring to the sheriff's judgment. There were also factual issues as to whether the sheriff arrived at the policy by engaging in a reasoned decision-making policy, as well as whether the policy legitimately furthered important underlying interests, such as protecting the safety of female inmates. Ambat v. City & Cnty. of San Francisco, #11-16746, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 12512 (9th Cir.).
     A city was liable to a former female spokesperson for the police department for a total of $417,955.34, including $167,955.34 in attorneys' fees and costs. She was transferred to patrol duty from her spokesperson position, and then was assigned to a more prestigious job with promises of overtime after pursuing a union grievance. Believing that she is not receiving as much overtime as other employees, she makes copies of their paystubs to pursue a complaint, but was allegedly then threatened by a city attorney with criminal prosecution for doing so if she didn't drop her EEOC complaints The jury awarded her damages on her claims that the city retaliated against her because of her complaints of gender discrimination. The award included amounts for pain, suffering, emotional distress and injury to her reputation. Lore v. City of Syracuse, #093772, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 1954, 114 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 466, remanded by 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 4404 (2nd Cir.).
     Article, Biological Gender Differences, Absenteeism and the Earnings Gap, Andrea Ichino & Enrico Moretti, 1 (1) Applied Economics (AEA) 183-218 (Jan. 2009); Natl. Bur. of Economic Research Working Paper 12369 (2008).
     FBI agrees to pay $5.8 million to end gender discrimination claims brought by 1200 current and former female support staff at its headquarters and field offices, plus another $2.9 million in legal fees and costs. The plaintiffs complained that management denied promotion and advancement opportunities to women employees who were not special agents and thus could not qualify for GS-14 and GS-15 positions. They claimed that agent qualifications were not job-related. Boord v. Gonzales, EEOC#100-A1-7101X; settlement agmt. rptd. at 45 (2213) G.E.R.R. (BNA) 780.
     Fifth Circuit revives a sex discrimination action filed by a woman sergeant that unsuccessfully sought a transfer to the Texas Rangers. Although the denial of a purely lateral transfer is not an adverse employment action redressible under Title VII, Texas Rangers "are an elite unit within DPS and have a unique and illustrious history." Rangers "have greater job responsibilities, including being the primary investigators of homicides and handling other major high-profile and sensitive cases." A "reasonable juror could find that [the plaintiff] suffered an adverse employment action." Alvarado v. Texas Rangers, #05-51064, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 16928 (5th Cir.).
     In a 5-to-4 ruling, the Supreme Court limits an employee's right to sue pay discrimination that results from decisions made more than 6 months earlier. The plaintiff claimed that for 19 years she was making $6,000 a year less than the lowest-paid male doing the same work. Justice Ginsburg argued in her dissent that "Any annual pay decision not contested ... within 180 days ... becomes grandfathered ..." and an employer could pay a woman less than her male counterparts for her entire career, and admit that the reason for doing so is because she is female, as long as the decision to set the discriminatory wage happened at least six months earlier. Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., #05-1074, 2007 U.S. Lexis 6295.
     Private employer and the EEOC agree to a $54 million settlement of claims that women employees were the victims of pay and promotional discrimination. $12 million will go to a single employee, $40 million to other former and current women employees, and $2 million for diversity training. EEOC v. Morgan Stanley, #01 Civ. 8421 (Stlmt. 2004); prior interim decis. at 2004 U.S. Dist. Lexis 12724 and 12673; 211 F.R.D. 225; 2002 U.S. Dist. Lexis 23727, 17484 and11877; 206 F.Supp.2d 559 and 132 F.Supp.2d 146 (S.D.N.Y.). {N/R}
     California state lab pays $18 million to settle a gender-bias pay and promotions lawsuit; lab agrees to change the controversial "Relative Value Ranking" worker rating system. Singleton and Jennings v. Regents of Univ. of Cal., #807233-1 (Alameda Co. Super. 2003); settlement rptd. at 41 (2036) G.E.R.R. (BNA) 1191. [2004 FP Feb]
     A reorganization is not an adverse employment actions for the purposes of a Title VII unlawful retaliation claim. Gu v. Boston Police, #01-2354, 312 F.3d 6, 2002 U.S. App. Lexis 24316 (1st Cir. 2002). {N/R}
     5th Circuit joins five others in holding that Title VII and the Equal Pay Act applies to state agencies because the Congress intended to abrogate state sovereignty under the 11th Amendment. Ussery v. Louisiana, 150 F.3d 431, 1998 U.S. App. Lexis 17853, 77 FEP Cases (BNA) 1198 (5th Cir.) The other EPA cases are Mills v. Maine, 118 F.3d 37 (1st Cir. 1997); Reich v. N.Y., 3 F.3d 581 (2d Cir. 1993); Timmer v. Mich., 104 F.3d 833 (6th Cir. 1997); Hale v. Ariz., 993 F.2d 1387 (9th Cir. 1993); and Brinkman v. Dept. Corr., 21 F.3d 370 (10th Cir. 1994). [1998 FP 157]
     Federal court invalidates a police pension fund that treats women different than men because they live longer. Kuhn v. Mun. Police Retir. Sys., 1996 U.S.Dist. Lexis 15362 (E.D.La.). [1997 FP 14-15]
     Divided federal appeals court upholds Sheriff's Dept. pay disparity. Woman deputy did not have the same experience as a criminal investigator. Irby v. Bittick, 44 F.3d 949 (11th Cir. 1995). [1995 FP 94]
     Wisconsin county that paid women correctional officers less than males settles an EEOC equal pay suit for $160,000. EEOC v. Marinette Co., #92-C-0789, 33 (1623) G.E.R.R. (BNA) 923, 1995 FEP Summary (BNA) 90 (E.D.Wis. 1995). [1995 FP 141-2]
     CIA agrees to pay appx. $940,000 to settle gender bias claims and will make 25 retroactive promotions, 15 transfers and 24 career enhancing assignments. Conway v. Studeman, #95-426-A, 1995 FEP Summary (BNA) 78 (E.D.Va. 6/9/95). {N/R}
     Employer's reliance on collectively bargained wage rates no defense to a federal equal pay claim. U.S. EEOC v. Green Co., Wis., 618 F.Supp. 91 (W.D. Wis. 1985).
     Equal pay for Car Markers. Peltier v. City of Fargo, 533 F.2d 374 (8th Cir. 1976), citing 29 C.F.R. 800.125-6.
     Male and female jail guards entitled to equal pay for same work. Meegan v. City of Buffalo, 23 FEP Cases (BNA) 1454 (W.D.N.Y. 1980). See also, Ruffin v. Co. of Los Angeles, 607 F.2d 1276 (9th Cir. 1979); Mize v. State Div. of Human Rights, 349 N.Y.S.2d 364 (1973).
     

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