The Department of Justice announced the filing of a lawsuit today against Clark County, Nev., alleging that the county discriminated against Therese Scupi, an African-American woman, on the basis of race and sex and retaliated in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. Title VII is a federal statute that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex and religion.
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, alleges that the county discriminated against Scupi by subjecting her to compensation discrimination and retaliation from 2007 to the present. According to the complaint, Scupi, Director of Diversity for the county, was paid significantly less than four white county employees who had duties substantially similar to Scupi’s. The complaint also alleges that the county subjected Scupi to retaliation when she complained of disparities in her pay that she believed were based on her race and sex.
Through this lawsuit, the United States is seeking declaratory and injunctive relief requiring the county to develop and implement appropriate and effective measures to prevent and correct race and sex discrimination and retaliation, as well as monetary damages for Scupi as compensation for the county’s actions.
“Pay discrimination based on gender and race is a priority enforcement initiative for the Department of Justice,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “Nationwide, women earn only about 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man, and women of color earn even less.”
Scupi originally filed a charge of race and sex discrimination and retaliation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a federal agency that enforces laws against discrimination in employment. The EEOC’s Las Vegas Local Office investigated the matter, determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that discrimination and retaliation had occurred and referred the matter to the Department.
“Women and men deserve equal pay for equal work, and federal law holds employers to that responsibility,” said Director Amy Burkholder for the EEOC’s Las Vegas Local Office. “We were pleased to work with the Department of Justice on this case and are hopeful that employers take note of the need to address such discrimination in the workplace.”
The continued enforcement of Title VII is a priority of the department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice is available on the division website.