Matthews discount retailer Family Dollar has agreed to pay $45 million to settle a gender bias lawsuit that dates to July 2002.
According to the settlement, 37,000 female managers of Family Dollar stores allege that they were paid less than their male counterparts for doing the same job, a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963.
The settlement pertains to compensation paid to affected store managers from July 2002-November 2017. The settlement did not spell out the exact pay disparity. According to details in the settlement, 49 female store managers and their counsel filed Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charges which alleged a pattern and practice of discriminatory wages paid to women as a class at Family Dollar since July 2, 2002.
U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn in Asheville signed off on the settlement March 14. He said the deal is reasonable and would help avoid further litigation, according to Reuters.
Family Dollar denied any wrongdoing, saying that contends that it "has treated all employees fairly with regard to salaries and other compensation at all times, regardless of sex."
Virginia-based Dollar Tree, which bought Family Dollar in July 2015, declined to comment on the settlement.
In addition to the $45 million settlement, the retailer also agreed to a review of its process for setting starting salaries for managers, according to a notice of the class action lawsuit. To do so, the company said it will consult with experts in fields such as labor economics and industrial/organizational psychology.
Family Dollar operates over 8,000 stores throughout the country.