Lawsuit alleges Leawood-based AMC violated Equal Pay Act; retaliated against female employee

LEAWOOD, Kan. — A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday claims that AMC violated the Equal Pay Act and retaliated against a female employee when she asked for her salary to be raised to a level equal to her male colleagues.

Tonya Mangels, who served as vice president of product marketing for AMC, claims that she was fired in September 2019, despite years of positive performance reviews.

The lawsuit alleges that Mangels was paid substantially less than five other male vice presidents at the company, despite having similar duties and more experience than four of them.

The male vice presidents were paid between 56% and 72% more than Mangels, including base salaries and bonuses, amounting to a difference of over $100,000 a year.

According to the lawsuit, Mangels requested that her salary be equalized with that of her male counterparts in May 2018, to which her boss, Stephen Colanero, replied, “AMC knows that it needs to make an adjustment.”

After again asking for a raise, Colanero also told Mangels that she should be happy with what she gets and falsely claimed that her salary was within “equal range” of her male colleagues, according to the lawsuit.

In 2018, despite years of positive reviews, Colanero allegedly rated Mangels 2018 performance as “does not meet expectations.” According to the suit, he acknowledged  Mangels performance was “superior” but that he needed to “send a message.”

This led to Mangels filing a discrimination complaint with the EEOC on May 2, 2019.

After she filed the complaint, the company falsely claimed that she provided advance knowledge to her team about upcoming job cuts, according to the lawsuit. AMC fired her on Sept. 30.

The lawsuit seeks front and back pay, as well as punitive damages for alleged violations of the Equal Pay Act and retaliation.

AMC has not responded to FOX4’s request for comment.

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