The Illinois Department of Labor has won its first case under the state’s Equal Pay Act, which went into effect in 2004.
A female clerk for Main Street Liquors in Chicago filed a complaint after she discovered she was earning less than a male clerk for performing the same work. The DOL investigated and, in June 2005, demanded the store pay back wages to the clerk. The company refused to comply, forcing the case into court and compounding the bill.
In January, a Cook County Circuit Court judge ordered the store to pay the clerk $4,061 in back wages and $8,211 in penalties.
Note: Trying to dodge the DOL is a bad strategy. But this company missed an opportunity right from the beginning, when the employee first complained. Not all employee complaints are valid, but it pays to give them fair consideration, before you wind up in court.
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