Harrisburg – The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission ordered Freshwater of Harrisburg LLC, and owner James Behrend, of Monsey, N.Y., to pay William Scott, of Harrisburg, more than $46,600 in back pay and interest for illegally discriminating against Scott based on his sex and race.
Scott, who is African American, filed a complaint against his former employer alleging that Behrend paid him unequal wages based on his race and sex, and that he was harassed, then dismissed in retaliation for pointing out the unequal wages.
“Employers simply cannot pay someone less or harass them based on sex or race,” Stephen A. Glassman, chairperson of the commission said. “It’s not just a suggestion, it is Pennsylvania law.
The law also forbids retaliating against someone who points it out when you discriminate,” Glassman said. “Everyone has the right to work free from illegal discrimination in Pennsylvania.”
Despite multiple notifications. Freshwater and Behrend never answered the complaint, and the commission found both liable for illegal discrimination. The commission held a public hearing Jan. 11, 2010, to determine what damages, if any were appropriate.
Last week’s order awards Scott back pay of $41,837 for wages lost after his dismissal, plus six percent interest per annum. Interest is calculated from the date of his dismissal, Aug. 23, 2006, until full payment is made. To date, the interest brings Scott’s award to more than $46,600.
The commission also ordered Behrend and Freshwater to cease and desist paying unequal wages and harassing employees based on race and sex, and to cease and desist retaliating against employees who express opposition to illegal discrimination.
The company has 30 days to report to the commission on how it will comply with the order.