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October 01, 2021
Software Company's Female Employees Awarded Damage

by John Clifford

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New England Computer Services, Inc. (NECS), a Connecticut-based software company, must pay a total of $233,655 to three female workers for pay discrimination and retaliation.

How we got here. In 2018, the three workers sued NECS in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, alleging they were paid between $17,000 and $25,000 less per year than a male employee working in the same location and performing the same services, in violation of federal and state equal pay laws. One of them also filed a retaliation claim, alleging the company fired her after she lodged a discrimination charge with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights.

Damages handed out. After a jury sided with the three women, the court awarded them a combined $41,335 in back wages for the equal pay claims. In addition, the court awarded $192,320 to the employee who had filed the retaliation claim.

Lesson for employers. The decision should serve as a strong reminder to not only address any pay disparities but also train managers on how to respond appropriately to employees’ complaints. Mishandling complaints can result in damages well beyond any back wages that may be owed.

John Clifford is an attorney with FortneyScott in Washington, D.C. Clifford’s practice focuses on counseling federal contractors regarding their affirmative action and nondiscrimination obligations and advising in matters involving the DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. He also has extensive experience working with employers on wage and hour matters, including advising federal contractors on compliance with prevailing wage laws enforced by the DOL Wage & Hour Division, and providing support for government investigations and audits. You can reach him at jclifford@fortneyscott.com.

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