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County Employee Sues Under Fair Pay For Women Act

on November 28, 2017 - 11:40am
Los Alamos Daily Post

An employee working in the Los Alamos County Procurement Department has filed suit against the County under the Fair Pay for Women Act claiming that she is paid almost $12,000 less per year based on her gender than her male counterpart.

Lillie Martinez, a buyer/planner, claims she has been paid less than employees of the opposite sex for equal work the performance of which requires equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions. Martinez’s suit states that she had and has skills specific to the New Mexico Procurement Code greater than that of her male coworker and that there is no legitimate reason based on merit, experience, education or assigned duties to pay him more.

Martinez says she notified her supervisor in June 2016 of the pay disparity and that at that time and thereafter she requested pay equity in the form of a raise.

She says her request was denied and continues to be denied. The suit asks for lost wages, lost retirement and pension benefits as well as emotional distress damages. Martinez believes she is entitled to have her lost wages trebled under the FPWA.

“The County’s refusal and continued refusal to pay her equal pay for equal work is and was being done maliciously, recklessly and in knowing disregard of her rights entitling her to punitive damages,” the suit states.

Martinez is asking for a jury trial on all issues triable as well as compensatory damages, costs and fees. Her attorney is Timothy White.

The County’s response asks the Court to dismiss the suit claiming it fails to meet the requirements of the FPWA and the statute of limitations. A motion to dismiss filed by the County claims Martinez failed to file a claim within 90 days against the County in State Court following her waiver of an administrative hearing before the Human Rights Bureau of the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions and receipt of her letter informing the County of her right to sue.

The County also maintains that the suit, which was filed in Rio Arriba District Court, should have been filed in Los Alamos County District Court.