Asset Dealer Paid Female Manager Less Than Male Employees, Federal Agency Charges
BALTIMORE - Asset Strategies International, Inc., a Rockville, Md.-based full-service, tangible asset dealer specializing in precious metals, foreign currency and rare tangible assets, violated federal law when it paid a female manager lower wages than males performing equal or less demanding work, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, after 11 months of good job performance, Asset Strategies promoted a female preferred client representative to the position of assistant preferred client relations manager. In addition to continuing her sales duties, she also trained and supervised six to eight preferred client relations representatives and performed additional administrative duties. The company increased her salary and promised her another increase in six months, but her salary was lower than other male managers and $5,000 lower than a newly hired preferred client representative whom she trained and supervised.
After one year as a manger, Asset Strategies increased the woman's salary, but she still earned less than male employees, including $2,000 to $12,000 less than male preferred client representatives whom she trained and supervised, the EEOC said. These male employees had no prior experience selling precious metals, foreign currency exchange or rare coins. Moreover, the position that the woman held required a higher degree of skill, effort and responsibility than that of her male subordinates who earned more money, according to the suit.
Such alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA). The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Asset Strategies International, Inc., Civil Action No. 8:19-cv-01626-PX) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Greenbelt Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay, liquidated damages and injunctive relief to prevent future wage discrimination against females or retaliation against employees who oppose practices made unlawful by the EPA.
"It is blatantly unfair and unjust to pay a female manager lower wages than male employees she trained and supervised, especially when she had greater job responsibilities and they had less asset sales experience," said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. "The EEOC will take vigorous action to protect workers from unlawful pay discrimination."
EEOC Philadelphia District Director Jamie R. Williamson added, "Addressing gender-based pay discrimination is a priority for the Commission. This lawsuit should encourage all employers to review their compensation plans to prevent such inequities."
The EEOC's Baltimore Field Office is one of four offices in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
Ensuring equal pay protections for all workers is one of the six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.