When there’s a discrepancy in pay between two similarly situated employees, there needs to be a tangible reason, like a difference in experience or training.
But one company couldn’t offer a reason, and it landed in court for it.
Made thousands less
Sarah Lindsley worked for Omni Hotels in Texas for 16 years, starting out as a server and eventually becoming the food and beverage director.
Lindsley’s salary was $11,000 less than her direct predecessor, a male. The two previous directors before him, also men, made $6,000 and $4,000 more than Lindsley, respectively. Lindsley sued, claiming gender discrimination.
On summary judgment, a court ruled in favor of the company, stating Lindsley failed to show she held the exact same job as the men in question.
But the 5th Circuit reversed that ruling, reviving Lindsley’s claim. The court said it was clear Lindsley earned less than three predecessors, and “if there’s a good explanation for that disparity, Omni is required to put one forth.”
This case shows that pay disparities can exist if there are tangible reasons, but it’s illegal and unacceptable for them to exist on the basis of sex.
Cite: Lindsley v. Omni Hotels Management Corp., 1/7/21.