Pharmacuetical giant AstraZeneca will pay 124 women a total of $250,000 to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit brought by the US Department of Labor. The women, who worked at the company's Philadelphia Business Center, were being paid an average of $1700 less than their male co-workers.
The department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs conducted a scheduled compliance review of the business center in 2002 and found that AstraZeneca had violated Executive Order 11246 by failing to meet its obligations as a federal contractor to ensure employees were paid fairly without regard to sex, race, color, religion and national origin. AstraZeneca holds a contract valued at more than $2 billion with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide pharmaceutical products to hospitals and medical centers around the country.
"Forty-eight years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, women are still fighting for fundamental fairness when it comes to how we are paid," said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu, a member of President Obama's National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force. "I am glad AstraZeneca finally has agreed to pay its employees what they've earned. More importantly, we look forward to working with the company's management to make sure this does not happen again to anyone who works for AstraZeneca."
Under a consent decree and order filed with the department's Office of Administrative Law Judges, in addition to making financial restitution, the company has agreed to work with OFCCP to conduct a statistical analysis of the base pay of 415 individuals employed full time as "primary care" and "specialty care" level III pharmaceutical sales specialists in Alabama, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. If the analysis concludes that female employees continue to be underpaid, the company will adjust salaries accordingly.
Score one for the working stiffs although getting a check for a little over $2000 doesn't seem like nearly enough compensation. The press release doesn't say how long the women were employed by the company, but that would only make up a little over one year's worth of under-compensation.