The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit arguably has lowered the bar for allowing a female plaintiff to get her claim of discrimination in pay in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) before a jury.
In Lenzi v. Systemax, Inc., No. 18-979 (2d Cir. December 6, 2019), the appeals court found that even where the plaintiff did not have any similarly situated male comparators performing “equal work” at her company – which is an essential element of proving a claim under the Equal Pay Act (EPA) – her Title VII claim could proceed based on market pay evidence showing that she was underpaid compared to male senior managers doing other jobs who made more than she did.
The Second Circuit, in reversing a trial court ruling dismissing her case, also recognized that the plaintiff must prove that her employer intentionally discriminated against her in order to support her Title VII claim, and pointed to evidence she introduced that her boss made multiple disparaging remarks about women in concluding that she presented enough evidence to allow her to present her case to a jury.
A copy of the Second Circuit’s opinion in Lenzi is available online.
Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.