HIGHLAND, Ill. — A southern Illinois high school principal has filed a lawsuit claiming Highland Community Unit School District No. 5 has practiced sexual discrimination by unfairly paying her a smaller salary than less-qualified men.

The Belleville News Democrat reports (http://bit.ly/1oHt8wp ) in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis, Karen Gauen alleges the Highland school board paid her predecessor a base salary of at least $25,000 per year more than it paid her to do the same job. She contends the man got the salary even though he had 17 fewer years of experience as an educator and lacked Gauen’s qualifications.

In addition, the lawsuit alleges Highland paid Gauen less as the high school principal than it pays men who hold lower-level and less-responsible jobs, including as assistant principal.

Highland school board member Joe Mott refused to discuss Gauen’s lawsuit.