ST. LOUIS (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit, charging Hobson Bearing International Inc. with federal law violations for allegedly retaliating against an employee who had claimed unequal pay.
Tera Lopez, a project manager at Hobson, allegedly complained to EEOC about unequal pay, stating she made less than male counterparts for the same work. EEOC looked into the matter and did not issue findings one way or the other. Hobson then allegedly sued Lopez for malicious prosecution. According to EEOC, this purported suit violated the Equal Pay Act.
“EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan has made a national enforcement priority of guaranteeing everyone access to the justice system without intimidation,” said EEOC St. Louis District director James R. Neely Jr. “Hobson's action of bringing a baseless suit against Lopez is an egregious attempt to undermine her rights.”
EEOC aims to acquire monetary relief, an order for Hobson to drop the lawsuit, and an order for the company to implement new policies related to discrimination and retaliation.
“An employer is only making things worse when it punishes someone for making a discrimination charge, even if it strongly disagrees,” said EEOC regional attorney Andrea G. Baran. “The EPA protects employees who have the courage to challenge what they believe to be discriminatory compensation practices from retaliation by their employers. Workers need to know that the law offers significant protections so they can confidently report evidence they may have of unequal pay.”