After a woman left work for the day because she was experiencing a migraine, her female boss called her at home and said she wouldn’t get headaches if she’d just have sex with a man.
Nicole Aaker, an employee of Interim Healthcare, Casper, WY, didn’t like it when her boss, Crystal Burback, often called her stupid. Worse, Burback had a bad habit of slapping Aaker on the buttocks. And Burback once grabbed another female worker’s breast in front of Aaker’s child.
Things got ugly when Aaker went home for the day to deal with a migraine. While she was out, Burback called Aaker and told her that if she’d just have sex with a man, she wouldn’t get headaches.
Not only was Aaker subject to offensive behavior from her female boss, but she was also paid less than a male coworker.
Aaker was hired at a pay rate of $28 per hour. But a male colleague, Bailey Jessee, was hired at a rate of $29 per hour, despite the fact that he had only two months of experience while Aaker had 17 years of experience.
After Aaker found out about the pay disparity, she complained to Burback, who got angry and told her to not discuss her salary.
Surprisingly, Jessee, who was apparently also upset by the unequal pay, let Burback know that he’d be willing to take a pay cut in order to equalize his pay rate with Aaker. But Burback became angry and defensive, and then denied Jessee’s request.
Upset about the unequal pay, Aaker quit the job, then went to the EEOC.
The EEOC sued under the Equal Pay Act, arguing that more-qualified female workers were being paid less then less-qualified male employees.
The company lost. It paid $50,000 to settle the case.
Based on EEOC v. Interim Healthcare of Wyoming.
(From the Dec. 20, 2019 issue of HR Manager’s Legal Alert for Supervisors)