WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Department of Justice has announced a lawsuit against New Mexico State University
(NMSU), alleging the college discriminated against a female former assistant track coach on the basis of sex by paying her
less than similarly-situated men.
“Women deserve the same salary and the same respect as their
male colleagues with similar job duties,” said principal deputy assistant
attorney general Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights
Division. “Lawsuits like this one demonstrate
the Justice Department’s steadfast commitment to enforcing federal law to close
the wage gap.”
NMSU allegedly paid Meaghan Harkins thousands of dollars
less per year than it paid to two male assistant track coaches with similar responsibilities.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
“This lawsuit reflects the recognition by the Department of
Justice of the bedrock principle of equal pay for equal work and that this
principle must be applied to all employees within the public sector workforce,”
said U.S. attorney Damon P. Martinez of the District of New Mexico.
The Justice Department noted enforcing federal
employment discrimination laws is a top priority.