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EEOC Sues Cummins, Inc. For Pay Discrimination

Diesel Engine Manufacturer Paid a Female Employee Less Than a Male Employee Performing the Same Work, Federal Agency Charges

Cummins, Inc., a diesel engine manufacturer which operates a call center located in Nashville, violated federal sex discrimination law when it paid a female in a benefits enrollment position less than a male colleague doing the same work, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced in a recently filed lawsuit.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the female employee had performed the benefits enrollment position for over a year. She later learned Cummins offered a male candidate the same position at a higher rate of pay. The woman then asked her supervisor for a salary review to determine if Cummins compensated her appropriately. After completing the salary review, the company determined it paid the female employee less than her male counterpart. Cummins, however, did not change the woman's salary. When she resigned almost a year later, Cummins still had not increased her pay to match the pay of her male coworker.

Such alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act (EPA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibit discrimination in compensation based on sex. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Cummins, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:17-cv-01306) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks injunctive relief prohibiting Cummins from disparately compensating employees based on sex, as well as back pay, liquidated, compensatory and punitive damages.

"The EPA was enacted in 1963," said Katharine W. Kores, district director of the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi. "It is well past time for employers to recognize they cannot undervalue the contributions of women workers. Enforcing the laws that require equal pay for men and women performing the same jobs remains a priority for the EEOC. In 2016, the EEOC received over 1,000 charges alleging EPA violations, which shows we have our work cut out for us."

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