EEOC opens pay discrimination case against Kansas pizza restaurant

By Mark Iandolo | Sep 13, 2017

ST. LOUIS (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit Sept. 1 against the former operators of a Pizza Studio in Kansas City, Kansas, for allegations of withdrawing job offers from two teens after the woman complained about being offered less pay than her male friend.

“The federal law requiring equal pay for jobs requiring the same skill, effort, and responsibility is older than the law which protects employees from discrimination based on race, religion, color, sex and national origin," said James R. Neely Jr., director of EEOC's St. Louis District Office. "Women must absolutely be paid the same as men for equal work."

The EEOC says two high school friends, Jenson Walcott and Jake Reed, applied to work as “pizza artists” at Pizza Studio in 2016. After being interviewed and receiving job offers, Walcott and Reed spoke with one another about their wages. Reed was allegedly offered 25 cents more per hour than Walcott; Walcott then decided to call the restaurant to complain. The EEOC alleges that when she did so, the company rescinded the job offers from both her and Reed.

"Perhaps even worse than offering unequal pay is firing employees when they make a good-faith inquiry regarding the possibility of unfair compensation,” said Andrea G. Baran, the EEOC's regional attorney in St. Louis. “Employees need to know that the law protects coworkers who talk about their pay and those who complain if they believe the employer is not paying men and woman equally."

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