AlliedBarton Security Services LLC agreed to pay $1,175,000 in back pay and interest to resolve allegations of pay discrimination uncovered during a routine affirmative action audit by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). The OFCCP found pay disparities based on race and gender among employees in unarmed security officer jobs in New York City. The agency determined that the company placed Black and Native American employees at lower-paying job sites compared to white employees, and it placed female employees at lower-paying job sites compared to male employees. The settlement fund will be shared by 2,263 workers. The company didn't admit liability but agreed to engage in extensive compensation analyses going forward and submit annual reports for three years. The company also agreed to discontinue “tap on the shoulder” job assignments, replacing them with a more formal system such as posting internal job openings and giving employees a minimum of four days to apply (press release 12/8/2021 and conciliation agreement 12/7/2021).
Tips: This case illustrates how explaining a pay difference by saying that an employee was in a lower-paying job isn't necessarily a winning argument. The OFCCP may dig deeper to see whether you're steering workers into jobs in a way that disproportionately affects one race/ethnicity or gender compared to another. Using a job bid system can reduce your liability, because it narrows the number of employees considered for a transfer or promotion. However, if you find that employees of one race/ethnicity or gender are bidding on jobs at a higher rate than their similarly situated coworkers, you may need to do some further exploration and consider how to train, mentor, and encourage people of all backgrounds to put their names up for consideration.