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Maryland county settles EEOC allegations of pay discrimination

By Mark Iandolo | Jun 12, 2017

BALTIMORE (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced June 5 that Prince George’s County, Maryland, will pay $145,402 after allegations of federal pay discrimination.

According to allegations, Joanna Smith was hired for an engineer III position with Prince George’s County’s Department of Environment (DOE). At the time of her hiring, Smith had a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering and more than five years of professional experience. 

The county purportedly refused to negotiate her salary, but two weeks later hired a male employee for a substantially equal position and accepted his request for a higher salary. Additionally, the county allegedly paid a male in an engineer II position a higher salary than Smith, despite the male having less experience and performing less complex duties.

A court ruling in favor of the EEOC helped create the settlement.

"We filed this lawsuit because Prince George's County not only refused Ms. Smith's efforts to negotiate a higher salary commensurate with her experience and education, it then continually paid her less than it paid her male colleagues even though she did equal, and in some cases, more complex and superior work," said EEOC supervisory trial attorney Maria Salacuse. "The court's ruling confirmed that the county's rationale for the disparity was unsupported by the record."

"Fairness and federal law mandate equal pay for equal work,” said EEOC Philadelphia District Director Spencer H. Lewis Jr.

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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission