The 1963 Equal Pay Act requires employers in California and across the country to pay men and women equally when they have equal responsibilities and perform duties that require the same amount of skill, experience and effort. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is tasked with administering and enforcing the nation’s workplace civil rights laws, and the federal agency filed a lawsuit on June 18 that alleges a Nebraska bank violated the Equal Pay Act by paying a female relationship manager less than a man who performed the same job.

In addition to monetary relief, the EEOC is seeking a declaratory judgment and demanding that the company implement practices and policies designed to prevent future violations of the 1963 law. The agency says that it filed the wage discrimination lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska after efforts to settle the case were unsuccessful.

The lawsuit claims that the bank paid a male relationship manager a salary that was 33 percent higher than that of both his female co-worker and the woman he replaced. The female coworker says that she complained to the EEOC when the bank failed to address her grievances. The woman also says that her salary was not increased during nearly six years with the bank.

The defendants in cases involving alleged violations of the Equal Pay Act often claim that the plaintiffs were paid less because they had fewer skills and less experience, and these arguments can be challenging to overcome when compensation plans are complex or performance driven. However, companies generally seek to avoid protracted and costly litigation whenever possible, and employment law attorneys may use that knowledge to obtain a quick settlement.