Hundreds of women to benefit in Albuquerque equal gender pay lawsuit settlement

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Hundreds of women who work for the City of Albuquerque feel that they’ve scored a victory for gender pay equality. They settled a massive lawsuit after arguing the city was not paying them as much as their male counterparts.

Attorneys representing them said some will get a few hundred dollars and others could get more than $100,000 dollars in compensation.

The city is set to pay $17 million as a result of the settlement for the collective-action lawsuit, which now only needs a judge’s approval.

431 women – all city employees – joined the suit, with some of their claims going back as far as 2013.

Now, after their attorneys say they’ve faced years of frustration, their wages and salaries will increase, and they’ll get back pay and changes to their retirement benefits.

“They were initially upset about these kinds of wage gaps,” said Albuquerque attorney Alexandra Smith, who represents women in the lawsuit. “We’re really happy to have reached a settlement agreement that ensures that our clients will receive everything that they are owed.”

The female employees claimed the city “systematically” pays women less than men – $3 to $6 an hour less.

 “We found that there were women who had pay disparities across many different departments and many different job descriptions across the city,” Smith said.

That includes employees from bus drivers, to cashiers, to Albuquerque Police Department staff, to people in city offices.

Under the agreement, the city denies any “allegations of unlawful conduct”.

A city spokesperson said in a statement that it’s committed to equity, and, “This is about righting a decade-old wrong, and ensuring a lawful pay structure for all employees.”

Attorneys for the women said this result shows all women they can successfully fight for equal pay.

The hearing for a judge to decide whether to approve the settlement is set for Nov. 17.