Louisiana Record

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Long-term employee accuses Safety Council of gender discrimination

By Robert Hadley | Jan 29, 2016

LAKE CHARLES – A Beauregard Parish woman says her employer is paying her less than male co-workers for the same type of work.

Joni Fontenot filed a lawsuit Jan. 19 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Lake Charles Division against Safety Council of Southwest Louisiana, alleging gender-based wage discrimination.

According to the complaint, Fontenot, who has worked for the defendant for 15 years, was tapped to replace the chief executive officer in 2011. The suit says Fontenot’s compensation package provides a lower salary, smaller raises and fewer benefits than her predecessor, despite performing equal or similar work. When the plaintiff complained to her employer about the alleged discrimination, the suit says her bonus for 2015 was withheld.

Fontenot seeks a jury trial and damages equivalent to the amount of wages and benefits withheld, an equal amount in liquidated damages and litigation costs. She is represented by attorney Timothy O’Dowd of Lake Charles.

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Lake Charles Division Case number 2:16-cv-00084

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Safety Council of Southwest Louisiana Timothy O'Dowd, Attorney at Law

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