The U.S. Labor Department announced last week that it has reached a settlement agreement with LinkedIn to resolve allegations of “systemic, gender-based pay discrimination” in which 686 women were paid less than men in comparable job roles.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) conducted a routine evaluation finding significant pay disparities between male and female employees in the same positions with the same job expectations despite controlling for “legitimate explanatory factors.”
LinkedIn’s most recent “equal pay analysis” found that women earned 99.9 cents for every dollar earned by men.
This settlement affects women who worked in engineering, product, or marketing roles from 2015 to 2017 at the company’s offices in Northern California – specifically in San Francisco and Sunnyvale. It includes the time before and after Microsoft’s $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn in 2016.
According to a 2021 internal diversity report, 54.3% of LinkedIn’s overall workforce is male and 45% is female. However, that number changes when looking at LinkedIn employees who specifically work in tech, rather than in non-tech or leadership roles – 73.8% of LinkedIn’s tech workforce is male, and 25.1% is female, the report said.
In addition to paying $1.8 million, the career-networking service, LinkedIn, agreed to train staff to ensure compliance with its own nondiscrimination obligations, and to evaluate for the next three years whether its compensation is gender-neutral and make salary adjustments if not. The settlement agreement says LinkedIn argued that its statistical models didn’t identify pay disparities saying, “while we have agreed to settle this matter, we do not agree with the government’s claims; LinkedIn pays and has paid its employees fairly and equitably when comparing similar work.” A statement by the OFCCP Regional Director Jane Suhr in San Francisco reads, “In addition to recovering $1.8 million in back wages and interest for these workers, our agreement will ensure that LinkedIn better understands its obligations as a federal contractor and complies in the future.”
Current or former LinkedIn employees who think they may be owed compensation can learn more about the agreement on the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program’s website, the Labor Department said.
The federal Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits any type of pay discrimination on the basis of gender. The law is an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act and was enacted to bridge the pay gap that existed. Clearly, this disparity still exists today at all levels. The Equal Pay Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in the payment of wages or benefits where men and women perform work that involves similar skill, effort, and responsibility for the same employer under similar working conditions. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 and prohibits all forms of employment discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, and gender.
To bring a claim under the Equal Pay Act, the employee must show that a man and woman working at the same place and doing the “substantially same job” or equal work are receiving unequal pay. If you believe you have been discriminated against at work because of your gender, contact the experienced attorneys at Lavi & Ebrahimian, LLP.