Fast Food Restaurant Paid Female Shift Managers and Cashiers / Sandwich Makers Less Than Males for the Same Work, Federal Agency Charged
PHILADELPHIA -- A fast food restaurant franchise, Market Burgers, LLC, doing business as Checkers in West Philadelphia, will pay $100,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to settle a gender pay discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC charged that Market Burgers paid female shift managers and female cashiers / sandwich makers lower wages than their male counterparts even though they did substantially equal work. According to the lawsuit, Market Burgers also suppressed the wages of female shift managers and cashiers / sandwich makers through discriminatory job assignments, such as scheduling them for fewer hours than their male counterparts.
Such alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Market Burgers, L.L.C., d/b/a Checkers, Civil Action No. 13-cv-4651) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the $100,000 in monetary relief to aggrieved current and former female employees, the three-year consent decree settling the lawsuit contains important remedial provisions, including prohibiting Market Burgers from future discrimination on the basis of sex with respect to wages. The restaurant will increase the hourly wages of female cashiers / sandwich makers to match the wage rate it pays to males performing equal work. Market Burgers will provide training on complying with Title VII's and the EPA's prohibition against sex-based wage discrimination with a focus on the legal prohibitions on making discriminatory job assignments based on sex. Market Burgers will also report to the EEOC on its handling of all complaints of wage discrimination based on sex or sex-based discrimination in job assignments, as well as post a remedial notice.
"As this lawsuit demonstrated, discrimination in hourly rates of pay and scheduling can result in substantial lost income for female workers and their families," said District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. of the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office. "This is a significant settlement because it remedies pay discrimination based on gender for lower-wage workers and changes the restaurant's compensation practices to ensure that female employees are paid the same as their male counterparts."
EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, "The EEOC is a member of the White House Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force, and addressing wage discrimination claims is one of our priority issues. We are pleased that Market Burgers worked with us to resolve this case early in the litigation. The settlement compensates class members for their lost wages and contains important equitable relief and training provisions designed to prevent any future wage discrimination."
The Philadelphia District Office of the EEOC oversees Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.
Enforcement of equal pay laws and targeting compensation systems and practices that discriminate based on gender is of one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.