EEOC Files Wage Discrimination Lawsuit Against the University of Miami; Allegedly Underpaid Female Professor
On July 29th, 2019, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a gender discrimination claim against the University of Miami. According to the EEOC, the university unlawfully paid a female political science professor less than an equally qualified male counterpart who holds a substantially similar position. Below, our top-rated Miami employment law attorneys explain the allegations from the EEOC and provide an overview of wage discrimination laws.
The Allegations: Similarly Qualified Female Professor Was Paid Less
In its complaint, the EEOC lays out some key facts that are relevant to this case. First, it notes that the two political science professors in this case were both awarded full promotions on their first attempt. In addition, the EEOC states that both of these employees have received broadly similar performance reviews from fellow faculty members and from students.
By mistake, an email was sent to several employees at the University of Miami that disclosed sensitive salary information. It was at this time that the female political science professor confirmed what she had long suspected — she was being paid less than her male colleague. She then raised the issue directly with the administration in an attempt to get it addressed. However, the EEOC contends that the pay disparity continued.
Wage Discrimination Under the Equal Pay Act
Some wage discrimination claims are filed under the Equal Pay Act. Passed into law in 1963, this federal statute is explicitly designed to prevent gender-based wage disparities. It is an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Equal Pay Act covers jobs that are ‘substantially similar’ to one another. When bringing an Equal Pay Act claim wage discrimination, an employee must be able to prove that their employer is under-compensating when compared to employees of the other gender who are doing the same work.
Wage Discrimination Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
Employees may also be able to bring a wage discrimination claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under Title VII, an employee must be able to prove that their level of pay is lower than it would otherwise be because of discrimination. Unlike with an Equal Pay Act claim, it is not always necessary to prove that there is a member of the opposite sex who is actually earning more and who is working in a substanially similar position. Instead, employees who are filing a Title VII wage discrimination claim must simply be able to establish that they are being treated worse based on a protected characteristic — in this case, gender/sex.
Discuss Your Case With a Miami, FL Employment Law Attorney
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida employment lawyers have the skills and experience to handle the full range of gender discrimination claims. We represent both employers and employees in wage discrimination claims. To arrange a fully private initial consultation, please call us right away. From office locations in Miami and West Palm Beach, we handle employment law cases throughout Florida.