Female Special Education Teachers and School Psychologist Paid Less Than Male Colleagues, Federal Agency Charges
CHICAGO – Verona Area School District (VASD), which serves Verona and parts of Fitchburg and Madison, Wisconsin, violated federal law when it paid female special education teachers and a school psychologist lower wages than male employees doing the same work, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, since the 2019-20 school year, VASD has paid nine female special education teachers lower salaries than a male special education teacher. All nine have experience comparable to (or greater than) their male colleague, but have made between $3,000 to $17,000 less than he did. The EEOC also alleged that a female school psychologist has been paid less than a male school psychologist, making at least $16,000 less per year than he did since the 2017-18 school year.
Such alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act (EPA), which prohibits discrimination based on sex. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, (EEOC v. Verona Area School District, Case No. 3:22-cv-00039) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC’s litigation effort will be led by Trial Attorneys Ann Henry and Elizabeth Banaszak and Supervisory Trial Attorney Justin Mulaire.
“Fighting wage discrimination remains a priority for the EEOC,” said Julianne Bowman, the district director of the EEOC’s office in Chicago. “Nearly 60 years after the Equal Pay Act was enacted, we continue to see that more work needs to be done to achieve the act’s mandate of equal pay for equal work.”
Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Chicago District Office, added, “That the female employees had as much or more experience and were paid so much less than their male co-workers for doing the same job is unfair and illegal, and that’s why we filed suit to remedy that wrong.”
The EEOC is seeking back pay, liquidated damages, the elimination of the pay disparities, and other injunctive relief to correct and prevent future pay discrimination.
For more information on equal pay and compensation discrimination, please visit https://www.eeoc.gov/equal-paycompensation-discrimination.
The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of employment discrimination, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.