Equal pay suit filed by Allegheny County Court employees moved to federal court

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A lawsuit filed by two Allegheny County court managers against their employer, alleging that they were paid less than a male colleague and were brushed off when they complained, was moved to federal court today.

Andrea Dodasovich is the court’s intergovernmental manager and Christine McKelvey is the case management manager, according to their complaint, initially filed in the county Court of Common Pleas. They performed duties that were “equal to or greater than those assigned to a male co-worker who received compensation exceeding [theirs] by more than $7,000 per year,” according to the complaint.

When they complained informally, county supervisors expressed sympathy and pledged to address the problem, but never did, according to the lawsuit. So they put their concerns in writing in August 2012 and again in January 2013, wrote their attorney, Scott M. Hare.

“On February 8, 2013, Allegheny County rejected [their] formal request and advised plaintiffs that it would not correct their disparity in pay,” wrote Mr. Hare. “The county instead offered plaintiffs discounted parking, 16 hours of compensatory time and a warm ‘thank you’ for a job well done, leaving the salary differential intact.”

“These two workers actually tried at great length to get this matter resolved without having to file a lawsuit,” said Mr. Hare. “They tried for a period of years to get this resolved. Ultimately, those efforts proved fruitless.”

Mr. Hare alleged that the pay disparity violated the state equal pay law and federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The complaint seeks damages in excess of $35,000.

Attorneys for the county sited the federal act as the rationale for shifting the case to federal court.

A county spokeswoman and a court administrator both declined comment.

Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 or on Twitter @richelord.

Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 or on Twitter @richelord.

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