To settle a gender discrimination lawsuit, the New York State Department of Correctional Services will pay nearly $1 million, it was reported by various media outlets. The suit jointly was filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
EEOC and the United States had charged the Corrections Department at the Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, N.Y. with violating federal law by providing inferior benefits to female employees on maternity leave, said the Occupational Health & Safety web site, ohsonline.com.
The Corrections Department is the New York state government entity responsible for the confinement and rehabilitation of approximately 63,000 inmates held at 69 state correctional facilities across the state, including approximately 1,700 at Sing Sing.
The lawsuit, filed under the Equal Pay Act of 1963 charged the Corrections Department gave male employees with work-related injuries up to six months of paid worker's compensation leave. Although female employees were granted similar leave, pregnant employees on leave were involuntarily switched to maternity leave at or around the time they gave birth.
EEOC maintained switching women from worker's compensation to maternity leave resulted in lesser benefits for women due to their sex and thus violated the Equal Pay Act, a federal law requiring employers pay men and women equally.
In late May 2008, the court granted an Order and Stipulation Providing for Injunction and Affirmative Relief, providing $972,000 in compensatory damages, liquidated damages, back pay and interest to 23 female Corrections employees.
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