Agreement with U.S. department of labor resolves claims
Pfizer has entered into a conciliation agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, agreeing to pay $2 million to settle allegations of pay discrimination, the agency revealed on Monday.
Under the terms of the agreement, the OFCCP conducted a review of Pfizer’s compliance spanning from 2015 to 2016. It purportedly uncovered evidence suggesting that Pfizer had discriminated against 86 female employees by paying them less than their male counterparts in comparable positions.
The OFCCP contended that Pfizer’s actions contravened Executive Order 11246, a regulation that bars federal contractors from engaging in discriminatory employment practices based on protected attributes, including race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and national origin.
In response to these allegations, Pfizer, in an email to HR Dive, characterized the agency’s audit as involving minor pay discrepancies among a small group of employees at a single location, dating back over seven years.
While Pfizer affirmed its commitment to equitable treatment for all employees and expressed that the pay disparities were attributable to valid business factors, the company decided to resolve the matter in light of the time that had passed and the need to concentrate on its core business pursuits.
The $2 million settlement encompasses more than $1.2 million in back pay to the affected employees, along with over $737,000 in interest. Pfizer also committed to promptly discontinuing any discriminatory compensation practices and instituting training programs for those responsible for determining compensation for the affected job positions, among other stipulations.
This announcement marks one of several initiatives by the OFCCP to address pay discrimination during the Biden administration. OFCCP Director Jenny Yang emphasized pay equity as a major priority in 2021, leading to the signing of conciliation agreements with various employers, including Pfizer, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Microsoft-owned LinkedIn.