EEOC announced in a press release that Denton County in Denton Texas will be ordered to pay a judgement in which a female doctor was paid less than a male doctor at the Health Department. Denton County will pay $115,000 to a female former county doctor after a federal court entered judgment in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in a pay discrimination lawsuit (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the lawsuit, Dr. Martha C. Storrie worked as Primary Care Clinician in the Denton County Public Health Department beginning in October 2008. The job duties of her position were primarily to provide medical treatment for Denton County residents in clinics operated by the County. In August 2015, Denton County hired a male physician to perform the same duties as her. However, when the newly hired clinician was brought onboard, the county set his starting annual salary at more than $34,000 higher than hers. The Denton County director of public health then failed to take remedial measures in response to Storrie’s complaint about the unequal pay.
Such alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which both prohibit unequal pay disparities which are based on gender as opposed to other factors such as qualifications and job duties. The Equal Pay Act makes it unlawful for employers to pay women less than men for a job requiring the same skill, effort and responsibility, performed under similar working conditions.
The EEOC filed suit in August 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division (EEOC v. Denton County, Civil Action No. 4:17-CV-614) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.
“Dr. Storrie was a very well qualified and competent physician for Denton County,” said EEOC Dallas District Office Supervisory Trial Attorney Suzanne M. Anderson. “Dr. Storrie was board certified in adult and pediatric urology, hospice and palliative medicine and a certified correctional healthcare professional. She received cards and letters from many of her patients, thanking her for her competent and caring treatment, so she expressed surprise when she learned the county paid her less than the new hire.”
The final judgment and order issued by Federal District Judge Amos L. Mazzant III on Oct. 24, 2018 awards Dr. Storrie $115,000 in damages. It also requires Denton County to implement a new written policy regarding the compensation policy for all new physicians in the public health department in Denton County. Denton County is also to provide training on equal pay for women and the posting of a notice at Denton County facilities.
“The EEOC is pleased with the county’s commitment in the final judgment which requires the implementation of a new compensation policy for the public health department,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Robert Canino. “The EEOC is hopeful the County’s renewed efforts may also lead to other departments or areas within the County’s workforce being reviewed and considered periodically to determine equal opportunities are given to both men and women.”
Equal Pay discrimination is one of six national enforcement priorities highlighted in the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan, accessible at https://www.eeoc.gov/plan/sep-2017-cfm.
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