$100,000 Settlement in Pay Discrimination Lawsuit Against Fast Food Franchise

Monday, April 14, 2014

A fast food restaurant franchise, Market Burgers, LLC, doing business as Checkers in West Philadelphia, will pay $100,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to settle a gender pay discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC charged that Market Burgers paid female shift managers and female cashiers / sandwich makers lower wages than their male counterparts even though they did substantially equal work. According to the lawsuit, Market Burgers also suppressed the wages of female shift managers and cashiers/sandwich makers through discriminatory job assignments, such as scheduling them for fewer hours than their male counterparts.

Such alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Market Burgers, L.L.C., d/b/a Checkers, Civil Action No. 13-cv-4651) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the $100,000 in monetary relief to aggrieved current and former female employees, the three-year consent decree settling the lawsuit contains important remedial provisions, including prohibiting Market Burgers from future discrimination on the basis of sex with respect to wages. The restaurant will increase the hourly wages of female cashiers/sandwich makers to match the wage rate it pays to males performing equal work. Market Burgers will provide training on complying with Title VII's and the EPA's prohibition against sex-based wage discrimination with a focus on the legal prohibitions on making discriminatory job assignments based on sex. Market Burgers will also report to the EEOC on its handling of all complaints of wage discrimination based on sex or sex-based discrimination in job assignments, as well as post a remedial notice.

Enforcement of equal pay laws and targeting compensation systems and practices that discriminate based on gender is of one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan.

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