Former Employee Sues Pennsylvania CU Over Gender Discrimination Pay
A former senior business development officer is suing Pennsylvania’s second largest credit union after accidentally discovering she was being paid $30,000 less than a male business development officer.
Shakema Grace filed the federal lawsuit last week that alleged gender discrimination in pay under the Equal Pay Act while she worked at the $4.8 billion Police & Fire Federal Credit Union in Philadelphia.
During a meeting with her supervisor, Rashin Patel, in October 2016, Grace told him that she was underpaid for the work she performed.
Although Patel allegedly said her position was capped at $50,000 per year, he later informed her at another meeting that her salary would be increased to $60,000 per year. During that meeting, Patel inadvertently gave Grace documents that showed a newly hired business development officer, a man, was earning $90,000 annually.
Grace said in her lawsuit that she and her male counterpart had the same duties, responsibilities and goals, and that her lower pay violated the federal Equal Pay Act.
In February, Grace met with Patel, PFFCU’s HR Manager Gina Tobin and Executive Vice President Lucia Bellomina. Grace registered her complaint about being paid less than a male business development officer.
Soon after that meeting, Grace was accused of “being disengaged” and not meeting her business goal. However, Grace said this allegation was false, and that she actually exceeded her goal.
After expressing concerns about retaliation with Tobin, Grace asked what next steps HR would take regarding her pay discrimination complaint. The HR manager allegedly said she would not take any further action, according to the lawsuit.
The former senior business development officer who worked at PFFCU for three years said she experienced increased hostility at the workplace. After a scheduled vacation in March, Grace was fired. A termination memo claimed she was terminated because of a “decline in performance,” which Grace said is false.
PFFCU did not respond to CU Times messages seeking comments regarding the lawsuit’s allegations.
Although not related to this lawsuit, an Executive Compensation Solutions’ 2013 Survey revealed that the salaries of female credit union CEOs significantly trailed their male counterparts across all asset size categories.
Overall, the average female CEO’s salary was $178,080 in 2013, compared to $172,756 in 2012. Comparatively, the average male CEO’s salary was $223,834 in 2013, up from $208,231 in 2012. The findings show not only a higher level of base pay for male CEOs, but also a higher level of base pay increase from the prior year, the report pointed out.