Winebrenner Transfer, a Hagerstown, Md.-based trucking company, will pay $42,000 to a female truck driver to resolve a lawsuit for retaliation filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The EEOC claimed Tina Thompson, believed she was paid less than male drivers, based on discussions she had with her male co-workers about differences in compensation. Thompson complained several times about perceived pay discrimination, according to the EEOC and was fired one day by the company’s president after she sent him a text message saying she believed she was paid less than male co-workers for the same work because she was female.

Such alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement. 

The $42,000 monetary relief represents full back pay in the amount of $21,000 and liquidated damages of $21,000. In addition to the monetary relief, Winebrenner Transfer is enjoined from engaging in future retaliation in violation of the Equal Pay Act or Title VII. EEOC said the trucking company will implement and disseminate an anti-discrimination policy and complaint procedure to all employees and applicants. Winebrenner Transfer's owner and vice president will take an anti-discrimination training course and the company will also post a remedial notice regarding the settlement.

"Addressing gender-based pay discrimination and eliminating employment practices that discourage individuals from exercising their rights under our statutes are two of the agency's national priority issues," said EEOC Philadelphia Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. "To stamp out pay discrimination, it is vital that employees can raise pay concerns with their boss without suffering from reprisal."