The U.S. Department of Labor announced that Goldman Sachs & Co. has agreed to pay nearly $10 million dollars to resolve a pattern of compensation discrimination. 

Goldman Sachs & Co. entered into an Early Resolution conciliation agreement with the DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs after the office found the company had violated federal labor law by engaging in race and gender-based discrimination. 

As part of the agreement, Goldman Sachs & Co. will provide an estimated $9,995,000 in back pay and interest to an estimated 600 employees at its corporate headquarters in New York City. The company has also agreed to take steps to ensure it is providing equal employment opportunities by developing functional affirmative action programs and revising its current affirmative action programs.

“This agreement shows that OFCCP is working so that employees of the financial industry have pay equity,” Federal Contract Compliance Programs Northeast Regional Director Diana Sen  said in a statement

The agreement with Goldman Sachs is the second announced by the OFCCP this week. The office also reached an agreement with Dell Technologies to resolve race and gender-based wage discrimination. 

According to the agreement, Dell Technologies will have to pay affected workers $7 million in lost wages, interest, and benefits. The agreement serves to resolve 20 of the OFCCP’s pending compliance evaluations of Dell Technologies. The company holds contracts valued at more than $14 million with federal agencies, including the U.S. Departments of Energy and Housing and Urban Development, NASA and the IRS.

“Dell Technologies is working with us to ensure pay equity corporate-wide,” OFCCP Director Craig E. Leen said in a statement. “Together, we will ensure that the company complies with equal employment opportunity laws in its employment practices, in addition to remedying findings that OFCCP made.”

These two settlements are the largest in the OFCCP’s history, signaling that the office is serious about making companies pay for violating federal labor law. While the DOL has a number of programs in place to help employers comply, it’s vital for companies to regularly examine their compensation practices to ensure they’re not running afoul of the law.

Here are three tips for companies hoping to avoid the wrath of the DOL: 

Uncover existing wage disparities within your company

Employers should regularly audit their own practices to determine if they are inadvertently promoting pay disparities. These audits should include an analysis of pay by job title, pay band, or department. Compare this information using employees’ demographics to ensure there are no race or gender based disparities. If disparities are uncovered by this analysis, these disparities should be remedied immediately.

Examine compensation practices to uncover potential problems

Even if your compensation practices have yet to create wage disparities, that doesn’t mean pay discrimination couldn’t arise in the future. Examine your compensation system to ensure it is equitable. Your evaluation should include non-wage compensation, such as the opportunities available to part-time workers, and flexible scheduling. Additionally, employers should assess the internal and external value of each position so that pay rates reflect the value of every position regardless of the type of work or job title.

Be transparent about your compensation policies

The best way to avoid pay discrimination is to be transparent about your compensation policies. Make salary ranges for all job titles public, enact policies prohibiting pay secrecy and eliminate penalties for discussing pay. When employees have access to information, they can help uncover pay disparities and ensure they are addressed. Additionally, it’s important to place greater transparency on pay raises and promotions by involving more than one party in these decisions. This ensures decisions are fair and discriminatory practices can be quickly uncovered. 

If you would like to learn more about compensation regulations and enforcement, don’t miss our webinar COMPENSATION P01 – Analyzing for Compensation Data on October 16, 2019 at 10:30 – 11:30 AM PST. We will be discussing case laws and related settlements, along with the best practices to mitigate risk of pay disparities. All of our webinars are free and qualify for HRCI credits. Register Now