AstraZeneca Pays $250K For Sex Discrimination

AstraZeneca Pays $250K For Sex Discrimination

June 7th, 2011 // 12:28 pm @

AstraZeneca will pay $250,000 to 124 women who were subjected to pay discrimination while working at an office in Wayne, Pennsylvania, according to the US Department of Labor, which filed a lawsuit last year alleging the drugmaker discriminated against female sales reps by paying them salaries that were, on average, $1,700 less than their male counterparts.

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 (read the lawsuit). AstraZeneca holds a contract valued at more than $2 billion with the US Department of Veterans Affairs to provide drugs to hospitals nationwide.

“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,” OFCCP director Patricia Shiu, a member of President Obama’s National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force, says in a statement. “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, the drugmaker also agreed to conduct a statistical analysis of the base pay of 415 individuals employed full time as “primary care” and “specialty care” level III 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, salaries will be adjusted, DOL states .

Finally, AstraZeneca has agreed to develop and annually update its affirmative action plan and keep all supporting documentation as required by law. If the company fails to comply with the consent decree, it may be subject to sanctions, including cancellation of its current federal contract and debarment from acquiring future ones.

An AstraZeneca spokesman sends us this statement: “We reached this agreement to resolve the matter without further legal proceedings. We are confident that our compensation practices then and now are fair and non-discriminatory – and this settlement supports our position.”

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