Employers got a good reminder this week in a case decided by an Illinois federal court about how easily complaints of unequal pay by a single employee can spiral into a conditional class action, upping the stakes and increasing the costs of litigation.
In an amount sure to catch the attention of corporate general counsel – as well as raise their blood pressure – a class of sales representatives for an international pharmaceutical company recently settled their Equal Pay Act (EPA) and Title VII gender pay discrimination collective and class claims for four million dollars (Barrett v. Forest Laboratories, Inc., 12-cv-05224 (S.D.N.Y.)) Despite the multi-million-dollar settlement amount announced on October 6, 2017, the employer still avoided substantial risk, as the total potential recovery was estimated at over 10 million dollars.
New York City employers will soon be prohibited from asking job applicants about their salary history. As a measure to address gender-based wage gaps, the New York City Council passed legislation earlier this year which prohibits employers from making inquiries about the salary history of a job applicant or relying on the salary history of an applicant in determining compensation. The law takes effect October 31, 2017. Details of the law are available here.
A conciliation agreement released by the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) on October 4, 2017 revealed that State Street Corp. has agreed to pay $5 million to settle allegations that the company discriminated against more than 300 female executives by paying them less than their male counterparts. The settlement also resolves allegations by the OFCCP that State Street paid 15 black vice presidents less than white vice presidents.