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Maryland DOT settles suit for paying a man less than women for same job

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Dive Brief:

  • Maryland’s highway department will give $40,000 to a male worker to settle a sex discrimination suit for paying him less than women in the same role, according to a news release from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 
  • The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration paid women as much as $22,960 more than the man, who had more experience and tenure, for the role of district community liaison, according to the lawsuit. Going forward, the department will give the man a raise to match the salary of women doing the same job and also fund his pension accordingly. 
  • “Though pay disparity for performing equal work most often affects women in the workplace, the Equal Pay Act applies to males as well,” said Debra Lawrence, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Philadelphia, in the release. “Employers should be mindful about their pay systems and be prepared to adjust their employees’ compensation in accordance with the law.”

Dive Insight:

The case flips national pay norms on their head. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women typically earn just 82% of what men are paid in the same role nationally. 

But in construction, that pay gap is considerably smaller. While women constitute just 10.9% of construction workers — compared to 46.8% of all workers — they are paid, on average, 95.5% of what men make. That’s the smallest gender pay gap in all industries, a factor that’s often attributed to the high demand for construction workers in general, as well as union-based pay scales. 

In the Maryland case, Rosemarie Rhodes, the director of EEOC’s Baltimore Field Office said everyone should be paid the same rate for the same job. 

“In addition to the law itself, fundamental fairness dictates that employees receive equal pay for equal work,” Rhodes said. “The EEOC is here to assist any worker who believes the law is not being followed.”

MDOTSHA called the suit a personnel matter and declined to comment on the settlement. 

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