From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
By Porter Wells
A black Wells Fargo branch manager can go to trial on her claims of pay discrimination and retaliation, a federal judge in Texas ruled Feb. 7.
Wells Fargo recently announced it would make its pay data public in an effort to be more transparent about compensation disparities along gender and racial lines. The #MeToo movement has turned up the heat on the pay equity discussion, as some women now feel more “empowered” to demand equal pay.
Rochelle Sims, who worked for five years as a Wells Fargo branch manager in Houston, produced enough evidence that she was paid less than non-black male branch managers to create issues for trial, Judge Gray H. Miller said.
“We’re seeing more cases where federal judges are giving the benefit of the doubt to plaintiffs bringing discrimination claims and letting them get to a jury,” Sims’ counsel, Alfonso Kennard Jr. of Kennard Richard PC in Houston, told Bloomberg Law. “It’s an encouraging decision.”
Routine performance evaluations clued Sims into a pay equity issue. After learning a male subordinate was earning a higher salary, Sims collected salary information on male, non-black branch managers. She says when she complained to her boss and human resources about the disparities she found, she was demoted and moved to a new branch.
Sims filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in September 2016, claiming race and gender discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and a violation of the Equal Pay Act. Wells Fargo moved for dismissal of all of her claims.
Miller cited to Sims’ research several times in his opinion. Even where Wells Fargo provided nondiscriminatory reasons for the pay disparity and later demotion, Miller said the contrary information Sims had compiled and submitted created a genuine factual issue that would have to be resolved at trial.
Counsel for Wells Fargo didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg Law’s request for comment.
The case is Sims v. Wells Fargo, N.A., S.D. Tex., No. 4:16-cv-03212, summary judgment denied 2/7/18.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)