SW Legal studies in Business

Prima Facie Requirements for Equal Pay Act Violation Not Established
Description Appeals court upheld the dismissal of a suit brought for violations of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII for a company failing to promote a woman to a managerial position. Since the work she performed was not equal to that of a man in the managerial position, and because the position she wanted never existed, she did not establish a prima facie case for violating either act.
Topic Employment Discrimination
Key Words Equal Pay Act; Sex Discrimination; Promotion; Prima Facie Case
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Howard worked as a human resources coordinator for UTA until the plant she worked at closed. She sued her former employer for violating the Equal Pay Act and Title VII by failing to promote her to the position of human resources manager. The employer responded that the UTA plant that closed was too small to have a human resources manager. The trial court granted the employer summary judgment, holding that Howard failed to show that her work responsibilities were substantially similar to the work performed by human resource managers at other UTA plants and she failed to provide a prima facie case of discrimination under Title VII. Howard appealed.
Decision Affirmed. Under the Equal Pay Act, an employee must establish a prima facie case of sex-based wage discrimination by showing: (1) that different wages are paid to employees of the opposite sex; (2) that the employees do equal work which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility; and (3) that the employees have similar working conditions. Here, the employer had a male human resources manager who served as manager for both his larger plant and as manager of the plant for which Howard was the coordinator. While Howard's work was good, it was not equal to the work performed by the male manager, so she failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination that would allow the case to proceed. She also did not establish a case under Title VII because the position she claims she should have, human resources manager at her plant, never existed.
Citation Howard v. Lear Corp., 234 F.3d 1002 (7th Cir., 2000)

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