Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Fastenal
Date of Settlement: April 15.
Court and Case No.: U.S. District Court, M.D. Pa. No. 1:18-cv-01753-CCC.
Type of Action: Civil rights, employment.
Injuries: Unequal pay.
Plaintiffs Counsel: Ashley M. Martin and John S. Brubaker, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Defense Counsel: Maria L. Morocco, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Donald D. Gamburg and Jessica M. Bocchinfuso, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, Philadelphia.
In 2017, charging parties Amanda Peters and Beverly Richardson worked in the sales department at Fastenal Co., an international industrial and construction supply distributor, in Manchester. The women claimed that their wages were less than those of similarly qualified mail co-workers.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, acting in behalf of Peters and Richardson, sued Fastenal. The EEOC alleged that Peters and Richardson were paid disparately to their male co-workers, in violation of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Since May 2012, Peters worked as a part-time sales support employee. Peters was paid $9 per hour, and a male employee in the same position was paid $10 per hour. According to the EEOC, after requesting an increase in pay numerous times, Peters received a raise in August 2015, in which she began earning $10 per hour. However, in June and September 2016, Fastenal hired two male part-time sales support employees at a rate of $12 per hour. The new hires allegedly performed the same duties as Peters.
According to the EEOC, after learning that the company was paying new hires $12 per hour,
Peters made several requests to her direct supervisor for an additional pay increase because she performed the same job duties as new hires, trained new hires and had more experience. In May 2016, Peters’ supervisor asked the district manager to raise Peters’ pay to at least $11 per hour, but the district manager refused. In February 2017, after learning that Peters had filed an EEOC charge, Fastenal raised Peters’ pay to $12 per hour.
Since October 2015, Richardson has worked as a part-time sales support employee. Similar to Peters, she was paid less than male co-workers, and once Fastenal learned of Richardson’s EEOC suit it increased her salary in parity of the male employees.
The EEOC maintained that Fastenal discriminated against Peters and Richardson based on their gender by paying them less than it paid male employees.
The defense maintained that the charging parties were appropriately paid in relation to their experience and that no violation of the EPA or Title VII had occurred.
The EEOC sought to recover back pay and unspecified amounts in compensatory and punitive damages. The EEOC further sought to have Fastenal institute anti-discrimination policies and to provide training on employee rights under Title VII and the EPA.
The parties settled for $50,000. Under a two-year consent decree, Fastenal is prohibited from engaging in any future sex-based pay discrimination and retaliation for complaining about it. The company agreed to provide training on federal anti-discrimination laws and to prevent sex-based pay discrimination to management overseeing the Manchester store.
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiffs counsel. Defense counsel did not respond to calls for comment.
—This report first appeared in VerdictSearch, an ALM publication.