LOS ANGELES – Expeditors Inc. filed a notice of removal of a former employee's suit to remove the Equal Pay Act complaint from the Los Angeles County Superior Court to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
The noticed was filed April 6.
Under 28 U.S.C. section 1332(a), the defendants state that the diversity of citizenship between the plaintiff, who resides in California, and defendants, which are Washington State citizens, and because the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000, gives the federal court jurisdiction.
Plaintiff Kiani Lewis filed the suit against Expeditors Inc., et al. in February alleging the defendants violated California's Equal Pay Act, including failure to pay all wages to quitting or discharged employees, unfair or unlawful business practices, gender discrimination and failure to prevent or correct discrimination under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
The notice for removal states that Lewis was employed by the company from June 2015 to January 2018 as a customer service representative. She alleges in the complaint that the company paid herself and other female customer service representatives "less than men in the same positions and levels for substantially equal or similar work throughout the class period.”
Three male customer service representatives made an average of $22 per hour while the defendant worked her way up from $14.42 per hour to $15.50 per hour, including a bonus, she alleges.
Lewis is seeking a total of $100,588.87 in total damages in this case - $34,157.86 of those damages are for lost wages.
Lewis also seeks $4,773.15 in waiting time penalties. Time waiting penalties are calculated by multiplying Lewis' average hours worked in a day (7.2) by her comparator's average hourly salary ($22), the notice of removal stated.
Under California Business & Professions Code section 17200, Lewis would be eligible to recover $2,500 in civil penalties. She is also pleading non-economic damages for emotional distress.