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Wernsing v. Department of Human Services

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
427 F.3d 466 (7th Cir. 2005)


Jenny Wernsing (plaintiff) was hired by the Department of Human Services in Illinois (the Department) (defendant) as a lateral entrant. In computing the salaries of lateral entrants, the Department started with the entrants’ prior salaries and gave the entrants raises that were permissible under established pay scales. Wernsing was hired as an Internal Security Investigator II, which had a monthly pay scale between $2,478 and $4,466. Wernsing, who had been earning a monthly salary of $1,925 in the private sector, received a 30-percent raise, resulting in an initial monthly salary of $2,478 with the Department. Due to the Department’s system of establishing initial pay rates, some of Wernsing’s colleagues who performed the same work as Wernsing received substantially higher pay. For example, Charles Bingaman, who performed the same work as Wernsing, had a prior monthly salary of $3,399. After receiving a 10 percent raise, Bingaman’s initial monthly pay with the Department was $3,739. Wernsing sued the Department, seeking a raise in salary pursuant to the Equal Pay Act of 1963, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d). The district court found in favor of the Department. Wernsing appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Easterbrook, J.)

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