EEOC

Southern Coffey County Public Schools, USD 245, has agreed to pay $11,250 and provide other relief to settle an employment discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency announced Thursday.

The EEOC filed suit against the district in Aug. 2018. According to the suit, when Julie Rosenquist was hired to be the principal of both Gridley Elementary and Southern Coffey County Middle School in 2015, she was paid $5,000 less than her male predecessor.

In 2016, after almost a year as principal, Rosenquist complained about the unequal pay and was given a $1,500 raise.

In 2017, when Rosenquist left the position, USD 245 paid her male replacement the same salary as Rosenquist’s male predecessor.

Such alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits employers from paying women and men unequally for doing a job with the same required skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions. The EEOC filed its lawsuit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Unified School District 245 LeRoy-Gridley, Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-2398) in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas.

In addition to the monetary relief, the consent decree, covering three school years and signed by Judge Daniel D. Crabtree, enjoins USD 245 from engaging in any employment practice which unlawfully pays employees of one sex less than employees of the opposite sex in violation of the EPA.

USD 245 also agreed to implement new policies, conduct district-wide training, as well as collect, monitor and report wage and salary data to the EEOC to ensure compliance.

“Last month we observed ‘Equal Pay Day’ — the date that symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned the previous year,” said Andrea G. Baran, the EEOC’s regional attorney in St. Louis. “We are pleased to resolve this matter with full compensation for Ms. Rosenquist and policy changes, training and monitoring that will ensure equal pay for school district employees in the future.”

“Ensuring equal pay protections for all workers remains one of the agency’s top priorities,” said L. Jack Vasquez Jr., acting director of the EEOC’s St. Louis District Office. “We urge all employers to look closely at their pay practices and ensure that they are paying women and men equally for doing jobs that require the same skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions.”

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The St. Louis District Office oversees Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and a portion of southern Illinois.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

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