Equal Pay

 In Employment Law, Wage Law

Oregon Workers File Lawsuit Seeking Equal Pay

A researcher and policy developer recently initiated a federal Equal Pay lawsuit against the state of Oregon for paying female workers less than male workers who held similar positions and had similar qualifications. This lawsuit has the potential to influence the rights of workers across the country by further providing support in the Equal Pay movement to level the amount of compensation received by male and female workers.

The Basis of the Lawsuit

The lawsuit, which was filed in United States District Court in Eugene, Oregon, argues that the female state employee had worked in her current job since 2009 and gained experience as an attorney in both the private and public sectors. The employee argues during this time she was paid less than her male co-workers who had similar experience and job qualifications. One worker who had similar experience and a comparable position received more than $30,000 per year than her. Paying female workers less than male co-workers is a violation of the Equal Pay Act.

Current Response to Pay Inequalities

Many legal scholars have noted that these cases rely on arguments based on fundamental fairness and Equal Pay Act, which have existed for several decades. In 2017, federal lawmakers even passed a law to prohibit compensating workers differently due to their gender. This regulation strives to decrease the inequity in the gender pay gap by encouraging companies to examine their own pay practices before lawsuits are initiated. In this particular lawsuit, even after the woman’s employer gave her a $14,000 increase associated with an “urgent reshuffling” this year, a substantial pay inequity still existed between the female employee and her co-workers. Due to this inequity, the woman argues that the state owes her back pay in addition to various damages and attorney’s fees.

Oregon’s Response to the Matter

Over the last year, the state of Oregon has raised various defenses in response to the woman’s claims. During a motion to dismiss part of the lawsuit last year, Oregon Department of Justice’s legal counsel argued that the employee’s complaints to others were not protected under the First Amendment because the speech concerned her own positions rather than issues of public concerns. As a result, Oregon provided 10 examples of concerns about her position which were allowed to be used as evidence. While the court did not find in favor of Oregon, if it had found otherwise, the employee would not have been able to raise various comments she had made about her position as legal counsel for the state.

Speak with a Skilled Wage and Hour Attorney Today

In addition to this current charge, the state of Oregon also faces a lawsuit from a former attorney who claims that she was unlawfully terminated from her position in response to reporting issues of mismanagement and discussing pay inequity. If you are a worker whose been treated unfairly by your employer, you should not hesitate to contact an experienced employment attorney. Contact Herrmann Lawtoday to schedule an initial case evaluation, during which time we will outline your various available options. Call one of our wage attorneys at 817-479-9229 or submit your information to us online and one of our wage lawyers will contact you.

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