CERES -- Jurors weighing claims that Modesto violated the state Equal Pay Act by under-paying three female employees broke for a two-week hiatus Thursday after lawyers finished bringing witnesses to the stand.
The attorneys can make their closing arguments Nov. 14, Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge William Mayhew said.
Leslie Curtin and Jo Ann Bertolotti, who supervise payment collections in the Finance Department, allege they were underpaid compared with a male colleague who manages the department's purchasing arm.
Lori Martinez, who now works in the Fire Department, performed the purchasing job on an interim basis for four years and claims she was underpaid in that period.
Women seek $237,000
The three women are seeking $237,000 in back wages through their lawsuit, which they filed in 2005.
Their lawsuit stems from a 2002 internal study that argued the women should be paid on par with then-purchasing supervisor Mark Averell. Gary Goyette, the attorney representing the women, bolstered his arguments with testimony from Deputy Finance Director Cheryl Detmar.
Shelline Bennett, Modesto's attorney, countered that the internal study prompted Modesto to give the women back wages and to re-evaluate their positions. They ultimately received a pay increase based on another study, though their salaries were not raised to Averell's level.