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Introduction to
Federal Employment Discrimination Law


Compensation and Benefits

Unequal Pay - An unequal pay claim involves an employee who is paid less for doing the same job, and the reason the employee is paid less is because he or she is a member of a protected group. These cases normally involve a female who is allegedly being paid less than her male counterpart. In addition to suing under Title VII, a person can also sue under the Equal Pay Act if she believes she is being paid less based on gender.

Case example: In Mickelson v. New York Life Ins. Co., - F.3d - (10th Cir. 2006), a Title VII gender or sex discrimination action, the court explains different burdens of proof under Title VII and the Equal Pay Act where the plaintiff is alleging unequal pay.

Retirement benefits - An example of this type of claim is an early retirement plan which pays more benefits to younger employees than to older employees.

Case example: In Coomer v. Bethesda Hosp., Inc., 370 F.3d 499 (6th Cir. 2004), an ADEA age discrimination action, the court found that the Hospital had nondiscriminatory reasons for treating the younger employee more favorably.

Unequal Treatment

Training - Unequal treatment claims are claims that do not fall neatly into any other category. A common type of unequal treatment claim is an allegation of unequal training.

Case example: In Beamon v. Marshall & Ilsley Trust Co., 411 F.3d 854 (7th Cir. 2005), a Title VII race discrimination action, the plaintiff argued that he was not given sufficient mentoring, but he failed to identify any similarly situated white employees who received greater or more meaningful mentoring.

Privileges of Employment - Remember that the "unequal treatment" must rise to the level of an adverse employment action before an employee can sue for the unequal treatment under employment discrimination laws.

Case example: In Enowmbitang v. Seagate Technology, Inc., 148 F.3d 970 (8th Cir. 1998), a Title VII national origin discrimination action, the court held that the failure to provide a computer or a poor evaluation (that is not used to the employee's detriment) does not rise to the level of an adverse employment action.

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