U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Hotel Paid Women Less Than Male Employees, Federal Agency Charges
BALTIMORE - A leading hotel chain, Extended Stay Hotels, unlawfully paid female employees lower wages than those paid to male employees for performing equal work, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
According to the EEOC's suit, Latoya Weaver worked as a guest services representative at the hotel's Lexington Park, Md., location. Her duties included answering the telephone, making reservations and checking guests in and out. Despite her years of similar experience at another hotel before she started work at Extended Stay Hotels and her five years of good job performance at the hotel, the hotel paid newly hired male employees more money than it paid to Weaver, even though they performed substantially equal work, the EEOC charged. According to the lawsuit, the hotel paid a class of female guest services representatives lower wages than those paid to their male counterparts for performing equal work.
Such alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. HVM L.L.C., D/B/A Extended Stay Hotels, Civil Action No. 8:13-cv-01980) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Greenbelt Division after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking injunctive relief prohibiting Extended Stay Hotels from paying female employees less compensation than their male counterparts for performing equal work, equitable relief that provides equal employment opportunities for women, as well as lost wages, compensatory and punitive damages and other affirmative relief for Weaver and other similarly situated female employees who were harmed by the hotel's discriminatory conduct.
"Although we have made great strides in narrowing the wage gap between men and women, this case demonstrates that pay discrimination remains a serious problem in the workplace," said District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. of the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office.
EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, "It is disturbing that even as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the EPA, some employers persist in paying women less than men for equal work simply because of their gender. The EEOC will take vigorous action to remedy sex-based wage discrimination."
According to its web site, http://www.extendedstayhotels.com, Extended Stay Hotels owns and operates nearly 700 hotels across the United States and in Canada.
Enforcement of equal pay laws and targeting compensation systems and practices that discriminate based on gender is of one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov. The Philadelphia District Office of the EEOC oversees Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.