DALLAS (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit Aug. 31 against Denton County, Texas, for allegations of violating the Equal Pay Act by paying a female clinician lesser wages than it paid a male employee performing the same job.

"Energetically enforcing equal pay laws is a currently one the national strategic priorities for the EEOC," said EEOC regional attorney Robert A. Canino. "In the health care field, just as in any other job market, the best medicine for employers ailing from poor pay practices is to remedy gender-based pay disparities that have been premised on outdated sex stereotypes. With [more than] 1,000 EPA charges received in 2016, we have our work cut out for us in promoting equal economic opportunity in the workplace."

According to allegations, Dr. Martha C. Storrie worked as a primary care clinician in the Denton County Health Department; she started in October 2008. Then, in August 2015, the county hired a male physician to perform substantially equal duties, yet purportedly paid the male employee $34,000 more.

"Denton County failed to properly pay Dr. Storrie for her important work in providing medical care in the county clinics and the jail,” said EEOC supervisory trial attorney Suzanne Anderson. “The county's approach to salaries resulted in a wage gap between Dr. Storrie and the male physicians that persisted throughout her long career with the county. The EEOC will continue to enforce compliance with the EPA to ensure that employees are paid equally when they perform equal work."

EEOC seeks back pay to remedy the alleged pay disparity.

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