A federal lawsuit filed this week claims that Park County officials paid a woman less than her equally qualified male peers on account of her gender.

Starkie J. Cornett is named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit. According to the suit, Cornett worked for the county as an equipment operator.

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Cornett was hired as a full-time employee for the public works department in Cody in November 2016. There, she trained to drive a commercial truck, operate a front-end loader, mower, dozer, water truck, sweeper, plow and sander. She was also trained on repairing potholes, laying gravel, monitoring flood control channels and safely flagging traffic.

Cornett was promoted multiple times, the lawsuit states.

When Cornett transferred to the county's Powell facility, training on new equipment ceased and she was separated from the rest of the crew in work duties, which harmed her career and pay increases.

The lawsuit claims the county hired two male employees in 2018 and 2019, respectively who did not have the proper experience. According to the suit, the two male employees were paid substantially more than Cornett, despite performing the same equivalent work.

"During the years of 2019 to 2021, Plaintiff Cornett continued to work under the same conditions as her male counterparts and had to put in the same effort as her male counterparts," the suit states. "She already had more skill and time running equipment and has the equal responsibilities as her male counterparts."

The lawsuit is seeking to award Cornett any backpay. Additionally, attorneys are asking a jury to determine any other damages from the alleged discrimination.

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