7th Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment on Title VII, ADEA and Equal Pay Act Wage Discrimination Claims

On January 13, 2017, the 7th Circuit affirmed an order of summary judgment in favor of the defendant in a wage discrimination lawsuit in which the plaintiff claimed that she was denied a pay increase and subjected to disparate pay on the basis of her age, sex and race, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), and the Equal Pay Act ("EPA").  David v. Board of Trustees of Community College District No. 508, No. 15-2132 (7th Cir. 1/13/2017).  She alleged that employees who were younger, non-African-American, or male were paid more than she was paid for equivalent work.

However, her claims failed because the other employees were not similarly situated to her.  Their job duties were substantially different than hers.  Thus, she could not establish a prima facie case of pay discrimination under the ADEA or Title VII.  There was not enough evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that her age, sex or race was the cause of her lower pay.  The plaintiff's Equal Pay Act claim also failed.  The EPA prohibits employers from paying different rates to men and women for the same work at the same establishment.  To establish a claim under the EPA, a plaintiff must show that: (1) higher wages were paid to a male employee; (2) for equal work requiring substantially similar skill, effort and responsibilities; and (3) the work was performed under similar working conditions.  The plaintiff did not perform similar job duties in her position or have the skills to perform these functions.  The male employee's position, therefore, included responsibilities that were substantially different from those performed by the plaintiff and that she could not perform.  Thus, she could not establish an unequal pay claim under the EPA.