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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Justice Department Settles Pay Discrimination Lawsuit Against Clark County, Nevada

The Department of Justice announced today that it has entered into a consent decree with Clark County, Nevada, that, if approved by the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, will resolve the department’s lawsuit filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 regarding compensation discrimination and retaliation.  In its lawsuit, the department alleged that the county paid Therese Scupi, its Director of Diversity, significantly less than white and male county employees whose duties were substantially similar to hers.  The complaint also alleged 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.   

Under the terms of the consent decree, the county has agreed to pay Scupi approximately $179,000 in back pay, compensatory damages, and pension contributions.  In accordance with the decree, Clark County has also agreed to maintain employment policies, practices and procedures that comply with federal discrimination laws and to conduct training designed to prevent against and correct both discrimination in compensation and retaliation. 

This lawsuit resulted from a joint project with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) designed to ensure vigorous enforcement of Title VII against state and local governmental employers by enhancing cooperation between the EEOC and the Civil Rights Division.

“Title VII protects employees who have the courage to challenge discriminatory pay compensation practices without fear of retaliation from their employers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta for the Civil Rights Division.  “We are pleased to have been able to work cooperatively with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to achieve a broad range of injunctive and monetary relief in this important case.”

“Pay inequity remains as a hurdle for working women,” said District Director Rosa Viramontes of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, which includes southern Nevada in its jurisdiction.  “We were pleased that our partnership with the Department of Justice on this case yielded positive results and will lead to a more equitable working environment going forward.”

Scupi originally filed a charge of race and sex discrimination and retaliation with the 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. 

The United States was represented by Civil Rights Division attorneys Antoinette Barksdale and Robert Galbreath.

Title VII prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of gender, race, color, national origin or religion, and prohibits retaliation against an employee who opposes an unlawful employment practice, or because the employee has made a charge or participated in an investigation, proceeding or hearing under the act.  The enforcement of Title VII and other federal employment discrimination laws is a top priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  Additional information about the Civil Rights Division and its work is available on its website at www.justice.gov/crt

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.

Updated August 27, 2015