MADISON (WKOW) — The Justice Department filed a complaint Thursday that alleges the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs offered a woman a lower salary than similarly or less qualified men for the same job.
According to the complaint, Michelle Hartness was selected for a director position within the department. She said that the WDMA offered her a salary below the range stated in the job announcement.
Even after she pointed this out, as well as mentioned that she wanted a salary consistent with her qualifications and on par with what the man holding the other director position was making, she said that the WDMA rejected her requested.
Then, according to the Justice Department, they ultimately hired a less qualified man at a higher salary than officials offered to Hartness.
“It is a violation of federal law for employers to offer a qualified woman less pay simply because of her sex,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department‘s Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division is committed to confronting the gender pay gap and holding state and local government employers accountable when they discriminate on the basis of sex in setting compensation.”
Harness also filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, whose Milwaukee office investigated the charge. According to a press release from the DOJ, it found reasonable cause to believe that Hartness was discriminated against based on her sex.
Conciliation efforts were unsuccessful.
27 News has reached out to WDMA for comment, but has not heard back.