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Former coal executive sues CONSOL alleging gender discrimination, pay disparity


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Former coal executive sues CONSOL alleging gender discrimination, pay disparity

A former executive of CONSOL Energy Inc. sued her past employer, accusing the company of discrimination under the federal Equal Pay Act.

Katharine Fredriksen, former president of CONSOL, was paid less than her male peers and subordinates and was otherwise discriminated against during her time with the company, according to a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The March 23 complaint says she was paid a base salary of $247,619, while a male CFO was paid a $517,188 base salary and a male senior vice president was paid a $379,710 base salary.

Frederiksen was paid 20 cents for every dollar paid to male senior management and some of the officers reporting to her "were compensated at double" the amount she was paid, the lawsuit states. She said after she made multiple complaints about the pay disparities, she was stripped of certain responsibilities usually associated with the role of president.

"The company intends to vigorously defend itself against these claims and will not comment further on pending or threatened litigation," said Zachery Smith, CONSOL's manager of external affairs, in an emailed statement.

The complaint also points to a conflict between Fredriksen and current CONSOL President and CEO Jimmy Brock, who allegedly referred to her as a "girl" in front of Fredriksen's subordinates.

"Shortly after defendant appointed Ms. Fredriksen President, [Brock] told her he did not support the idea of a woman being president ... because, among other things, he would have a hard time getting 'my guys' to accept her," the complaint states.

Frederiksen was president of the coal division of CONSOL Energy before the company was split into separate coal- and natural gas-focused entities; according to the suit, CNX Resources Corporation CEO Nick DeIuliis said she would eventually be moved into the CEO position at the new coal spinoff. She started with the company in 2011 as senior vice president of environmental strategy and regulatory affairs.

Frederiksen's exit from the company was announced in a securities filing in December 2017. The filing did not say why she left but noted Brock would take on her role as president.

Frederiksen is requesting the court provide the full value of her wages and benefits, compensatory and punitive damages and legal fees.