John Hughes and Lauren Kroeger recently received summary judgment in a lawsuit filed against their client in Federal Court alleging violation of the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”). The plaintiff, a male employee, sued his former employer, claiming that he was paid less than female employees for equal work. The employer moved for summary judgment, presenting evidence that any wage disparity between plaintiff and female employees was based on factors other than sex. Evidence demonstrated that the employer determined employees’ wages were based on two gender-neutral company policies: (1) application of an annual wage rate for new hires, adjusted for the new employee’s years of previous experience, training, and related qualifications; and (2) percentage wage increases based on performance evaluation scores in some years and on across-the-board increases in other years.
The employer identified ten female employees who earned a higher hourly wage than the plaintiff, and provided detailed information regarding the calculation of each woman’s starting wage rate and the calculation of her yearly wage increases. The Court determined that the wage rates for the higher-paid female employees were calculated pursuant to the employer’s two company policies, without consideration of gender. The Court agreed with the employer, holding that the undisputed evidence demonstrated that the employer used appropriate factors other than sex (experience and merit), applied uniformly, to determine wages of the employer’s employees.
The Court rejected the plaintiff’s argument that the employer’s alleged denial of overtime opportunities constitutes a violation of the EPA as having no legal basis. In addition to summary judgment for the employer on plaintiff’s EPA claim, the Court granted the employer an award of attorneys’ fees and costs due to plaintiff’s failure to respond to discovery requests and to appear for his deposition. The Court previously dismissed plaintiff’s disability and race discrimination claims.
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