UPDATED: Feds sue Maryland Insurance Administration for 'willful' equal-pay violations

On April 15, the day after National Equal Pay Day, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a class-action lawsuit against the Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA), claiming that women investigators and enforcement officers at MIA are paid less than their male colleagues.

"Since at least December 2009," the lawsuit alleges, MIA violated the federal Equal Pay Act "by paying Alexandra Cordaro, Mary Jo Rogers, Marlene Green, and a class of similarly situated female employees lower wages than those paid to their male colleagues for performing equal work as investigators and/or enforcement officers." Calling MIA's conduct "willful," the lawsuit alleges the women were paid "at rates less than the rates paid to male employees in the same establishment for substantially equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions."

The EEOC seeks back wages plus interest paid to the affected women, along with an injunction to force the MIA to stop its alleged disparate-pay practices; an order that it "institute and carry out policies, practices, and programs which provide equal employment opportunities for women and which eradicate the effects of its past and present unlawful employment practices"; and an award to EEOC for the costs of bringing the suit.

The MIA and the EEOC's lawyers on the case, Keyana Capri Laws, Debra Michele Lawrence, and Maria Luisa Morocco, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. City Paper will provide updates if statements are forthcoming.

UPDATE: The MIA "strongly disputes the allegations," its public-affairs director, Vivian Laxton, said in an email to City Paper, adding that "the case will be vigorously defended."

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