Black Female Employee of Prince George’s County Police Department Sues for Racial and Sex-Based Discrimination

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MDMina Johnson, a long-time African-American civilian employee of the Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD), filed a complaint against Prince George’s County today in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland alleging discrimination on the basis of race and sex. The complaint follows Ms. Johnson’s discovery that her salary was more than 40% lower and $35,000 lower than comparable white co-workers. In documents, County officials admitted that “the discrepancy is significant and cannot be explained by qualifications” and constitutes an “inequity.” Since learning of the pay disparity, Ms. Johnson has been going through the administrative process at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which ultimately found probable cause that Prince George’s County had violated Title VII. Ms. Johnson is represented by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP.

After spending nineteen years at the United States Department of Labor, acquiring relevant experience, Ms. Johnson taught in Prince George’s County Public Schools for three years before beginning her career with the PGPD. When Ms. Johnson started at PGPD, she was told that she could not negotiate her salary. She has since learned that men who are offered positions with the PGPD are given the opportunity to negotiate their salaries.  

Ms. Johnson and her supervisor submitted a request to then Interim Chief of Police Mark Magaw for her to be granted a raise after discovering these disparities. However, the request was neither granted nor adequately addressed. Ms. Johnson, who is both overqualified and underpaid for her work, has been discriminated against in her salary seeing as it is significantly less than her male and white female counterparts. In addition to fair compensation, Ms. Johnson is seeking an injunction requiring PGPD to publicly post salary information so that other employees know where they stand in the Police Department.

“Taxpayer money should not be spent to discriminate against county employees,” said Dennis A. Corkery, Senior Staff Attorney at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. “P.G. County had ample opportunity over the last six years to fix Ms. Johnson’s pay and demonstrate they were committed to civil rights, but they chose not to.”

“Individuals should receive equal pay for equal work,” said Roy L. Austin, Jr., Partner at Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis, LLP. “For almost a decade, Ms. Johnson has been an outstanding County employee doing vital work for the Police Department and she should not be discriminated against on account of her race or gender.”

Read a copy of the complaint here…


CONTACT:
Gregg Kelley, Gregg_Kelley@washlaw.org
(202) 319-1000

Lara Knowles, LKnowles@hwglaw.com
(202) 379-4533

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON LAWYERS’ COMMITTEE: For more than 45 years, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs has handled thousands of cases representing individuals and groups seeking to vindicate their civil rights in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations and other aspects of urban life. It represents people with claims of discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, disability, age, religion, sexual orientation, and military service and status. For more information, visit www.washlaw.org; or phone (202) 319-1000. 


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