St. Louis Record

Monday, October 21, 2019

Jefferson City Public Schools employee loses Equal Pay claim case

Lawsuits

By Takesha Thomas | Apr 5, 2019


JEFFERSON CITY – A Jefferson City Public Schools employee who alleged he was paid less than his female counterparts has lost his case in federal court.

On March 11, District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey at the Western District of Missouri, Central Division granted summary judgment to the school district in a case filed by plaintiff Robert Jones over allegations the district violated the Equal Pay Act.

Laughrey found that Jones' argument that the district had violated the Act was without merit because Jones failed to prove that there was indeed sex-based discrimination in the matter. 

Jones was employed with the district in 2014 as a credit recovery supervisor and was paid as an aide rather than a certified teacher, the ruling states. During the 2015-2016 school year, Jones' position changed to an E20/20 Supervisor and he still currently holds this position. He has a teaching certificate.

The ruling states that Jones is not the only employee in the school district who has a teaching certificate but is paid at a non-certified staff member level.

However, the ruling states that Jones "admitted 'that he is paid less than teachers, both male and female, for [purportedly] performing the same classroom duties and exhibiting the same skill, effort and responsibility as the teachers in the high school.'” Jefferson City Public Schools argued that he could not state a claim under the Equal Pay Act because of this admission.

"He has admitted that teachers are paid more than he is, regardless of gender. However, he contends that, because he is paid less than all female teachers, he has a viable Equal Pay Act claim," the ruling states.

The district argued that the E20/20 Supervisor position is a Jefferson City Public Schools Board created position and has its own salary schedule different from a teacher salary schedule. The ruling noted that unlike teachers, Jones does not "create the curriculum, lessons or assessments, set classes for students doing credit recovery or determine what E20/20 courses students take, grade students, or conduct teacher evaluations." 

"Mr. Jones’ admission that both male and female teachers are paid on the same salary schedule leaves no room for a prima facie case under the Equal Pay Act. The admission means that Mr. Jones now cannot show that JCPS 'paid different salaries to men and women for equal work performed under similar conditions.' ... His claim therefore must be dismissed," Laughrey wrote.

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U.S. District Court of the Western District of Missouri Jefferson City Division

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