NWLC Files Equal Pay Lawsuit Against Zoetis Alleging Company Maintained Stark Gender-Based Pay Disparity
Case filed on the eve of Equal Pay Day
(Washington, D.C.) Today, Dr. Yvonne Schulman, represented by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) and law firm partners Kakalec Law PLLC and Harrison, Harrison & Associates, Ltd., sued Zoetis, Inc. in New Jersey federal district court, alleging the company significantly underpaid her compared to at least two of her male colleagues who performed the same job but had far less experience. Dr. Schulman, a veterinary pathologist and the plaintiff in the suit, seeks to hold Zoetis accountable for its illegal gender pay inequity and discrimination.
The lawsuit alleges that Zoetis, Inc., a large international animal health company, paid one veterinary pathologist—who was a man with six fewer years of experience—over $100,000 more than Dr. Schulman. Another male veterinary pathologist with nineteen fewer years of experience was paid $70,000 more. When Dr. Schulman discovered the pay inequity, she raised the issue with HR and company officials, but the company refused to address this blatant sex discrimination.
“I was very surprised to learn I was making so much less than my male colleagues” said plaintiff, Dr. Schulman. “But I was sure I’d be given a raise once I informed management that I was aware of the issue. Instead, the company told me they wouldn’t change my salary. The wage gap thrives in secrecy, and so I feel it’s my responsibility to take the fight to court—for myself and for all women workers, especially for those who don’t have as many resources to get justice.”
Dr. Schulman is bringing claims against Zoetis for violations of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII, as well as New Jersey equal pay and antidiscrimination law.
“Under our civil rights laws and under the most basic notions of workplace fairness, employers must provide equal pay for equal work,” said Sunu Chandy, NWLC’s Legal Director who is representing Dr. Schulman. “Dr. Schulman’s story is a stark reminder that women—in nearly every occupation and at all education levels—experience wage gaps that that impact earnings, morale, retirement decisions, and the overall wellbeing of women and our families.”
Dr. Schulman filed her suit on the eve of Equal Pay Day, the day that marks how far into this year women working full-time, year-round must work to catch up to what men made last year alone. Despite women’s enormous gains in educational attainment, unequal pay pervades 94 percent of occupations, and shortchanges women hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a 40-year career. Women of color disproportionately face the harshest gender wage gaps: Latinas working full-time, year-round stand to lose more than $1.1 million dollars—and Black women close to $1 million—over their lifetimes.
“We are proud to represent Dr. Schulman in her courageous fight against gender pay inequity at Zoetis,” said Hugh Baran of Kakalec Law PLLC. “Workers in all sectors of the economy deserve equal pay for equal work—period. Our firm is excited to partner with the National Women’s Law Center and Harrison, Harrison & Associates in this important and timely case.”
“The gender pay gap has persisted for far too long,” said David Harrison of Harrison, Harrison & Associates, who along with Julie Salwen is representing Dr. Schulman. “Our firm is proud to support Dr. Schulman in holding Zoetis to account for its pay inequity.”
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
For immediate release: March 14, 2022
Contact: Maria Patrick – [email protected] / 646-299-4401