2020Equal Pay

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) – which is part of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) – has entered into agreements with two California-based federal technology contractors to resolve allegations of systemic pay discrimination against 391 female employees in several states. While not admitting liability, the contractors agreed to pay $1,450,000 in back pay and interest, according to a DOL news release.

The OFCCP found disparities in compensation between male and female employees working in similar positions at Hewlett Packard Inc. (HPI) and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). Both HPI and HPE agreed to provide relief to affected female employees, conduct compensation self-analyses, and take steps to ensure its personnel practices – including record-keeping and internal auditing procedures – meet legal requirements.

“The U.S. Department of Labor acknowledges these federal contractors’ voluntary involvement in resolving and addressing the preliminary findings we identified,” said OFCCP Pacific Regional Director Jane Suhr. “OFCCP procedures offer federal contractors effective methods to ensure equitable pay to employees, enhance internal salary equity reviews and proactively resolve any disparities uncovered as quickly as possible.”

In addition to Executive Order 11246, the OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These laws make it illegal for contractors and subcontractors doing business with the federal government to discriminate in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran.

In addition, contractors and subcontractors are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their compensation or the compensation of others subject to certain limitations, and may not retaliate against applicants or employees for engaging in protected activities. For more information about the OFCCP, call toll-free 800-397-6251 or visit www.dol.gov/ofccp/.

According to the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE), the gender wage gap between men and women has narrowed by less than one-half a penny per year in the United States since Congress passed The Equal Pay Act of 1963. In 2015, statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed women earned 80 percent of what men earned. As a result, laws prohibiting inquiries about salary history have increased to narrow the gender pay gap.

As of September 2020, salary history question bans exist in many major American cities. In addition, Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin have passed statewide laws. HRDive keeps a list of states and localities that have salary history bans.

Several businesses have settled equal pay discrimination lawsuits filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for thousands of dollars. This growing trend will cause more employers to focus on salary history question bans that promote equal pay between men and women, according to the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2020 compiled by Employment Screening Resources® (ESR).

“When an employer has a background screening firm perform past employment verifications, it is critical that firm knows which cities, counties, and states prohibit salary history questions, or else that employer could be fined,” explained background check expert Attorney Lester Rosen, the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) and the author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual.’

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check provider – offers employers flexible and customizable employment verifications that provide the salary history of applicants only if permitted by state and local equal pay laws. ESR’s three levels of verifications afford our clients the flexibility to customize their verifications through unique business rules. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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