Four female journalists on Friday filed a federal lawsuit against the Detroit Free Press and its parent company, Gannett, for pay discrimination. 

The plaintiffs, current and former staffers of the photo department, claim the newspaper underpaid them for years because they are women.

Mary Schroeder, Rose Ann McKean, Kathleen Galligan and Regina Boone filed under the Equal Pay Act of 1963 requesting unspecified damages.

The lawsuit stemmed from a 2017 study published by the newspaper's union that analyzed data for male and female employees at the Free Press called "Sex and Wage Report." According to that study, which looked at pay data from 2013 to 2015, for almost every category of job at the Free Press, "the male median wage was higher than the female median wage," according to the suit. 

The lawsuit also claims male photographers made $4.04 more per hour than female photographers, according to the suit. 

The study also showed that female employees' wages grew at a slower rate over time compared to male employee wages. For employees who have worked at the Free Press for over 20 years, the male median wage was found to be $8.94 more per hour than the female median age. 

The News reached out to Peter Bhatia, editor and vice president of the Free Press, who  said the claims had "no merit" and the paper has a "long-standing commitment to supporting equal employment opportunities for all employees."



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