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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
9-30-10

EEOC Sues Port Authority Of NY & NJ For Gender Pay Disparity And Age Discrimination

Federal Agency Charges That Port Authority Pays Women Less Than Men And Fired Its Older Workers Because of Age

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the bi-state agency which runs several of the largest transportation hubs in the northeast, violated federal law by paying its female non-supervisory attorneys less than male attorneys, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed yesterday.

According to the EEOC’s suit, the Port Authority pays its non-supervisory female attorneys less than it pays its non-supervisory male attorneys even though they perform work that requires the same skill, effort and responsibility. Sex-based pay disparities exist at the Port Authority regardless of the job assignment, length of service or date of bar admission, according to the suit.

In addition, the EEOC charged that the Port Authority used age as a basis to fire its older attorneys while simultaneously filling its ranks with significantly younger attorneys. Two women over 40 years of age, with considerable experience with the Port Authority, were terminated, according to the suit, purportedly as part of the Port Authority’s agency-wide “reduction in force.”

Such alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act (EPA), which prohibits considerations of sex as a basis for paying different wages for the same work, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which prohibits age discrimination in employment. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Case No. 10 Civ 7462, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“The ADEA prohibits the misguided notion that an employer can invigorate its work force by firing older workers and replacing them with younger workers,” said Spencer H. Lewis, director of the EEOC’s New York District Office. “This lawsuit makes it clear that such short-sightedness is not only wrong, it is against the law.”

Louis Graziano, the EEOC attorney who will be litigating the case, added, “Achieving a work force that embodies equal pay for equal work and eliminates sex-based pay discrimination has been the objective of federal law for nearly 50 years. This lawsuit makes it clear that the unfortunate reality -- that at some workplaces women still earn less than men, even though they are performing the same work and have the same qualifications -- continues to plague the workplace and will not be tolerated.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws which prohibit discrimination in employment. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.