The Fifth Circuit reversed a grant of summary judgment in Lindsley v. TRT Holdings, Inc., No. 20-10263 (5th Cir. 1/7/2021). In an opinion written by Judge Ho, the court found that the plaintiff showed that she was paid much less than similarly situated male employees of Onmi hotels. The lower court had found that the same job title was not enough to show the jobs were the same. One would think that the same job title at the same hotel would suffice to show an issue of facts. But, the lower court did not agree. Fortunately for the employee, the Fifth Circuit disagreed.
Indeed, the Fifth Circuit panel ruled that the plaintiff need not show anymore than the the job titles were identical and the comparative employees were employed just a few years apart. The court found that situation was sufficient to make a prima facie case. It was then up to the employer to offer a non-discriminatory reason for the pay disparity. The employer did not make such a showing. So, the appellate court reversed the summary judgment.
The court also noted the difference between the Equal Pay Act and Title VII and Texas Labor Code Sec. 21. The EPA mandates each location of an employer be reviewed independent of other locations. The plaintiff cannot, therefore, compare herself to persons employed at other locations. But, Title VII and Sec. 21 do not have a similar requirement. The district court erred in not recognizing that difference.
See the decision here.