A federal court jury in Anniston, Ala., has awarded $3.8 million to a former Goodyear employee who said she was paid less than men in similar positions, attorneys said.
Lilly M. Ledbetter, 64, of Jacksonville, Ala., sued Akron-based Goodyear in 1999 for wage discrimination. The jury of five men and seven women awarded the amount Jan. 24.
Mike Quinn and Jon Goldfarb, Birmingham, Ala., attorneys representing Ms. Ledbetter, said she started working at Goodyear's Gadsden, Ala., plant in 1979 and quickly became an area supervisor.
During her years in that position, she didn't realize she was being paid less than her male counterparts with similar seniority, Mr. Quinn said.
Ms. Ledbetter made about $3,700 a month, compared with some male employees' salary of $6,000 a month, Mr. Quinn explained.
Ms. Ledbetter took an early retirement in November 1998, he said.
A Goodyear spokesman said the company had not filed an appeal as of Jan. 27, but it is an open option. He said federal law caps compensatory and punitive damages in similar cases at $300,000.
``We believe there are several issues that warrant appeal,'' he said.
The Gadsden factory-which has been operating since 1929 and makes several lines of Goodyear's consumer tires-employs about 1,400 workers, he said.
Mr. Goldfarb said two other former female employees of the plant testified to similar experiences as Ms. Ledbetter. In the city of roughly 38,000, he said the plant may have taken on the air of a ``good old boy'' network. ``When you get that system, a woman can never fit in,'' he said.
The Goodyear spokesman, who also worked at the plant in 1998, declined to comment on that point.