The Maryland Insurance Administration will pay $36,802 in back pay and damages to three female fraud investigators to settle a pay discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency reported Monday.

The federal agency charged that the state insurance regulator had paid the women lower salaries than it paid to several male fraud investigators who performed the same work. The payments were based on gender, in violation of the Equal Pay Act, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for Maryland after an attempt to reach a pre-litigation settlement.

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The settlement with the EEOC also bars the insurance agency from violating the law in the future and requires agency officials to create specific non-gender-based wage policies. The agency also must post a notice of the requirements and report to the federal agency how it handles any future such discrimination complaints.

A spokesman for the insurance regulator did not respond to request for comment late Monday.

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