The former executive director of the Casper-Natrona County Health Department has sued it for paying her less for the same job as her male predecessor, according to her complaint filed in U.S. District Court on Monday.
Dr. Kelly Weidenbach started at the health department in December 2013, replacing Robert Harrington, and left in November 2018, according to her complaint filed by her attorney Scott Olheiser of Mills.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 requires men and women to be paid equally for equal work in the same establishment.
Widenbach and Harrington performed the same work.
But when Weidenbach was hired, the health department paid her $7,000 a month, and was paying Harrington $10,333 a month at the time he left, according to the complaint.
“In addition to paying Dr. Weidenbach markedly less than Robert Harrington, CNCHD paid her less than the minimum established amount set forth in the salary matrix for the job title Executive Director,” according to the complaint.
When she left on Nov. 9, 2018, the health department was paying her about $9,042 a month.
“CNCHD knew or showed reckless disregard about whether its unequal pay to Dr. Weidenbach was prohibited by the Equal Pay Act,” according to the complaint.
She is seeking damages for unpaid wages, attorneys fees and other matters.
The Casper-Natrona County Health Department is funded jointly by the city and the county. In the current fiscal year, the county allocated $704,258 to the health department, and the city allocated $540,000, not counting exchanges of services.
Despite the county and city relationships to the health department, Olheiser said the department is its own entity, which is why he did not name the city and county as defendants.
Natrona County Attorney Eric Nelson said the health department is insured through the Cheyenne-based Limited Government Liability Pool, a government liability pool. Nelson passed along Weidenbach’s lawsuit to the LGLP, but will be working with it, he added.
Olheiser said Tuesday that Weidenbach moved to Colorado where she works in health care. He declined to comment why Weidenbach is raising the unequal pay issue 14 months after she left the Casper-Natrona County Health Department.