AstraZeneca, a major pharmaceutical company, has agreed to pay $250,000 to settle allegations that female sales specialists were underpaid compared to their male counterparts. The alleged discrepancies were discovered during a routine affirmative action audit by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).
This case is notable for two reasons. First, the agency’s big-ticket settlements typically arise from allegations of discrimination against applicants in entry-level jobs with significant hiring activity. Discrimination in pay can be much more difficult to prove because of varying factors that can affect compensation, and disagreement among experts on how to analyze them. Second, this illustrates just how long these audits can drag on. The audit took place in 2002, and it wasn’t until May 2010 that the U.S. Department of Labor (the OFCCP’s parent agency) filed a lawsuit. Negotiations continued, and the OFCCP announced this settlement in June 2011.
Tips: If your organization holds federal contracts or subcontracts, make sure you are familiar with your affirmative action obligations. We recently updated our Legal Guides, “Affirmative Action Requirements for Supply and Service Contractors” (1651) and “Affirmative Action Requirements for Construction Contractors” (3953). Contact your Vigilant affirmative action representative with any questions.
This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult Vigilant or legal counsel.