Justices Won't Shield States from Unequal Pay Cases

December 17, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - US Supreme Court justices have refused to take a Texas case that would have allowed them to consider shielding states from unequal pay lawsuits.

According to an Associated Press report, the justices turned back an appeal from a Texas college, which now must pay damages to a female professor who sued under a 1963 federal law requiring employers to give men and women equal pay for equal work.

A jury found that the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio discriminated against professor Theresa Siler-Khodr, the AP said

Siler-Khodr received $20,000 a year less than a male colleague. Both professors have doctorates in biochemistry and the same job duties.

The college contends that states cannot be sued in federal court under the Equal Pay Act because states have constitutional protection. The Bush administration disagreed, siding with Siler-Khodr, according to the AP.

The Supreme Court has protected states from lawsuits in a series of states’ rights cases.

The court, for example, ruled last year that state workers cannot use a federal disability rights law to sue their employers for monetary damages for on-the-job discrimination.