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Articles Tagged with Gender Discrimination


For the second time this year, the First Circuit has reversed a district court’s ruling dismissing a student’s breach of contract claim against his school, reaffirming that courts are willing to second guess school’s interpretations and applications of their own policies.

Background of the Case

In Doe v. Stonehill College the plaintiff alleged that Stonehill had violated his contract with the school, and discriminated against him in violation of Title IX, when it found him responsible for sexual misconduct in 2018 and expelled him. According to his complaint, he and student Jane Roe had had three previous consensual sexual encounters before the incident that gave rise to her Title IX complaint against him. On the night in question, he claimed that the two engaged in sexual conduct that was the same as on other nights, and to which she consented in the same way (through physical manifestations of consent) that she had on previous occasions.


David-Russcol-scaled-e1658411941856Earlier this week, a federal judge largely denied the defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment in a case alleging that a nonprofit operating group homes on Cape Cod coerced our client into working long hours for no cash wages for nearly two years, and allowed her to be sexually harassed by her supervisor. David Russcol convinced the court that issues such as whether our client is exempt from the state minimum wage law and whether she was subjected to unlawful retaliation rest on factual determinations that must be made by a jury.

At this year’s Academy Awards, Patricia Arquette used the platform she gained as a Best Supporting Actress winner to speak about pay inequality, saying, “It is our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”  Persistent gender discrimination in employment is a barrier to that goal, but for women who experience pay discrimination at work, there are a variety of possible legal remedies.  This post explores some of the laws available to help address wage inequality under federal and Massachusetts law and outlines some of the ways that they do–and do not–protect female workers from unfair pay.

A federal law, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d), forbids employers from discriminating in the payment of wages on the basis of sex by paying employees of one sex less “for equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions.”  Equal pay is required even for employees whose jobs are not identical, so long as they are substantially equal.  There are numerous exceptions to the equal pay requirement: an employer can justify unequal wages if it can demonstrate that the difference results from “(i) a seniority system; (ii) a merit system; (iii) a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or (iv) a differential based on any other factor other than sex.”


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