Fastenal Company, a Winona, Minn.-based international industrial and construction supply distributor, will pay $50,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to resolve a federal pay discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced.
The EEOC charged that Fastenal paid two female sales support employees lower hourly wages than their male coworkers at its Manchester, Pa., facility, even though the women performed substantially equal work. One of the women, who was hired in 2012, trained male coworkers after they were hired, yet received lower wages. The second woman was hired in 2015 with 16 years of inside sales/customer service/buyer experience at two industrial manufacturing companies, and also an associate degree in business, yet received lower wages than male co-workers who were college students, the EEOC alleged.
Such alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Fastenal Company, Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-01753-CCC) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the $50,000 in back pay, liquidated damages and compensatory damages that the two women will jointly receive, the two-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit provides significant equitable relief, including prohibiting Fastenal from engaging in any future sex-based pay discrimination and retaliation for complaining about it. The company will provide training on federal anti-discrimination laws and preventing sex-based pay discrimination to management overseeing the Manchester store. Fastenal will also post a notice regarding the settlement and employee rights under the EPA and Title VII and be accountable through monitoring by the EEOC.
“Federal laws mandate equal pay for equal work,” said EEOC Philadelphia District Office Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “We are pleased that Fastenal worked with us to resolve this matter fairly, quickly and without incurring unnecessary litigation expenses.”
EEOC Philadelphia District Office Director Jamie R. Williamson added, “As Equal Pay Day reminded us all earlier this month, too many women still experience gender-based pay inequities in the workplace. The EEOC is committed to preventing and remedying such injustices.”
The EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office is one of four offices in the Philadelphia District, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C., and parts of Virginia.
Ensuring equal pay protections for all workers is of one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan.
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