Virginia Educator Sues School Board Over Pay Disparity

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By Associated Press

November 16, 2020

Roanoke County educator is paid less than men in the same position.

ROANOKE — An educator in Roanoke County filed a federal lawsuit this week against the school board alleging sex-based wage discrimination as she is paid less than male employees in the same position.

Roanoke County Public Schools Supervisor of Science Erin Barnett in her lawsuit argues that there is “no legitimate reason” for the pay disparity. Barnett earns $258.45 a day, but a male supervisor of physical education makes $284.55.

The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia includes a list of dozens of identical job-related responsibilities meant to show that while the male supervisor and Barnett focus on different subjects, they are “similarly situated” colleagues.

Roanoke County School Board Chair Mike Wray told the newspaper the board had not received Barnett’s lawsuit as of Thursday and declined a request for comment.

In January, Barnett filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but it was dismissed. In her lawsuit filed Wednesday, she seeks equitable pay, compensatory damages, back pay, front pay, prejudgment interest and attorney fees.

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