New Mexico State Sued for Gender Bias

     LAS CRUCES, N.M. (CN) — The Department of Justice sued New Mexico State University on Thursday for paying a female track coach $4,000 to $6,000 less than it paid male coaches in the same position.
     New Mexico State hired Meaghan Harkins in 2009 as an assistant track and field coach at a salary of $23,998. The college hired a male assistant track and field coach in 2007 at $29,500 and raised it to $30,090 in 2008, and hired another assistant coach, also male, at $28,000 in 2007, the government says in the federal complaint.
     When Harkins asked James Hall, NMSU sports administrator for track and field, about receiving equal pay for equal work, she waited three months for an answer, then was told that “her request was still being considered by Human Resources, but that the Athletic Director Dr. Boston McKinley specifically stated that he ‘does not have a problem excepting [sic] [her] letter of resignation.'” (Brackets in complaint.)
     Harkins got a $2,000 raise in 2011, and resigned a few months later.
     She filed a charge of sex discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which found cause to believe that NMSU discriminated against her, but after unsuccessful conciliation efforts, the EEOC referred the case to the Justice Department.
     U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez said in a statement: “This lawsuit reflects the recognition by the Department of Justice of the bedrock principle of equal pay for equal work and that this principle must be applied to all employees within the public sector workforce.”
     The United States seeks back pay and lost wages for Harkins, and an injunction against gender discrimination.
     Harkins coached at Brown University before moving to Las Cruces to work for New Mexico State.

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