By CBS Baltimore Staff

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Monday it is suing Jerry’s Chevrolet, Inc., on behalf of a former employee who accused the Baltimore dealership of pay discrimination and retaliation.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Maryland by the federal agency states that the unnamed female employee was fired a week after she complained about unfair wages and asked for a raise.

READ MORE: 'He Made That Type Of Impact': Morgan State Remembers Barry Ransom, Student Killed In Towson Monday

According to the EEOC, the warehouse dispatcher learned in September 2020 that she was being paid less than her male counterpart, despite being with the company six months longer than him. Once she learned of the pay gap, she brought her concerns to human resources.

“The EEOC charges that the director of human resources said he ‘would look into it,’ but instead abruptly fired her one week later, purportedly for making an inappropriate joke,” the agency said.

When the employee mentioned that a coworker had only been written up for viewing pornography at his desk, she was told the two situations were different, according to the EEOC.

READ MORE: Harford County’s Top Health Official Says He Was Fired For Political Reasons, Advocacy Of Masks In Schools And Vaccines

“The EEOC says that the real reason for the dispatcher’s termination was retaliation for her complaint about the compensation discrimination,” the agency said.

Under federal law, it’s illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the basis of age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and disability, among other factors.

“Female workers in all industries deserve equal pay for equal work,” said Debra Lawrence, the Philadelphia regional attorney for the EEOC. “Workers have the right to ask about perceived pay discrimination without being fired as a result and that is why we filed this lawsuit.

The EEOC is a federal agency that investigates complaints about discriminatory practices in the workplace.

MORE NEWS: When Will Life Return To 'Normal' After A Global Pandemic?

A spokesperson for the dealership wasn’t immediately available for comment Monday evening.

CBS Baltimore Staff