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Gender pay discrimination case gets second chance on appeal

The Equal Pay Act offers workers in New Jersey one route for addressing claims of gender wage discrimination. A lawsuit in Maryland citing this law has regained new life after an appeals court ruled that the case should be remanded back to the district court for further consideration. The lower court had originally dismissed it on the grounds that the plaintiffs had not presented sufficient evidence to support their claim.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had filed the lawsuit on behalf of three female civil servants that worked for a state's insurance fraud investigation division. Court filings indicated that the women had been paid less than some men in comparable positions. The lower court based its first decision on the fact that other men doing the same work made less money than the women, but the appeals court decided that all male employees as a class did not have to earn more collectively than all women. Discrimination in pay based on gender among individuals at a workplace sufficed to earn the case a second look.

The decision of the panel of judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit was split. The dissenting opinion expressed the belief that the state employees already had ample regulations to protect them from wage discrimination. The opinion called the lawsuit feeble and stated doubts about gender discrimination existing among state civil services.

A person who suspects that workplace discrimination is threatening opportunities for advancement or causing unfair treatment could speak with an attorney. During a legal consultation, an individual could learn about employee rights and how to file a complaint. A lawyer could prepare a complaint to regulators and organize evidence that supports his or her client's charges. If a settlement emerges, it might provide compensation for lost pay.

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