BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday announced it is suing the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration over alleged pay discrimination.

The federal lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Maryland on behalf of Robert Rager, a state employee the complaint claims was paid significantly less than his female counterparts, despite having comparable duties and more experience.

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The EEOC said such practices amount to a violation of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, a federal law that bars employers from discrimination in pay based on gender.

Rager began working as a district community liaison for the state agency in 2007. In 2015, the agency transferred Rager to the same role in another district and it filled his vacancy with a female, who was paid thousands more, the lawsuit said.

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The complaint said other females later hired for the same role and female coworkers in other districts were all paid more than Rager, even though they had less seniority experience.

The EEOC estimated the salary difference was as high as roughly $23,000.

“That Mr. Rager performed the same duties as his female successor and coworkers in other districts, had more years of experience, but was paid thousands less, is both unfair and illegal—and that’s why we filed this lawsuit,” EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence said.

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WJZ has reached out to the Maryland Department of Transportation for comment on the lawsuit, and this story will be updated with the agency’s response.

CBS Baltimore Staff