Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library violated federal law by paying female librarian supervisors lower wages than their male counterparts, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court.
Ann Marie Harvey began working as a librarian the Neighborhood Library Services Division in 1997, and was promoted to supervisor position in 2002, according to the lawsuit. In June 2015, the Pratt hired a male library supervisor who had previously been with the organization but had left to accept a job at a smaller library system, according to the lawsuit. Before his resignation, he earned a lower annual salary than Harvey and other female librarians based on their respective years of service and experience, the lawsuit states.
But the EEOC alleges the Pratt did not follow its own hiring policies and rehired the man despite not needing another library supervisor and placed him in a library that already had a person in that role. The library system also paid the man $6,000 more than Harvey and between $1,000 to $6,000 more than four other female librarian supervisors, even though all of those supervisors had more years of experience, the lawsuit states.
The EEOC says the alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in compensation.
“Ms. Harvey and the other female librarian supervisors performed the same duties as their male coworker and had more years of experience but were paid thousands less simply because of their gender. That is both unfair and illegal — and that’s why we filed this lawsuit,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence in a statement.
A spokeswoman for the Pratt referred questions about the lawsuit to the Baltimore City Law Department. City Solicitor Andre M. Davis said a Daily Record request for comment Wednesday was the first he had heard about the EEOC suit, adding the city and Mayor Catherine Pugh are “absolutely committed to equal treatment of all and in particular, women in the workplace.”
The city will respond to the lawsuit and work with the EEOC to resolve the matter, he added.
“Enoch Pratt is one of many hardworking city agencies and departments,” he said. “The new director (Heidi Daniel) is absolutely committed as is her entire staff to equal treatment of all.”
The mayor and City Council are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.
The case is EEOC v. Enoch Pratt Free Library, et al., 1:17-cv-02860.
The EEOC previously sued the Pratt in 2005 for firing a 68-year-old employee because of her age. A federal jury returned a verdict in favor of the library.