- Bank of America, Dell and Goldman Sachs have agreed to pay a combined $20 million to settle three separate U.S. Department of Labor discrimination claims, the agency announced last week.
- DOL's Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP) said it entered into an agreement with Bank of America that would see the company pay $4.2 million in back wages and interest to resolve alleged hiring discrimination violations discovered during OFCCP compliance evaluations. Goldman Sachs, under its agreement, would pay a total of $9,995,000 in back pay and interest to resolve alleged findings of gender- and race-based pay discrimination. Dell's settlement would see the technology company pay a total of $7 million in lost wages, interest and benefits to resolve "indicators" of race- and gender-based pay discrimination, DOL said. The Dell settlement includes more than $1.5 million in back pay and salary adjustments voluntarily paid by EMC Corporation in April 2012 prior to its merger with Dell.
- Each of the three employers issued separate statements via email to HR Dive in response to the settlements. A Bank of America spokesperson said the company disagreed with OFCCP's allegations. A Goldman Sachs spokesperson said the company disagreed with the statistical analysis on which the agency based its allegations. A Dell spokesperson said its settlement agreement "demonstrates our commitment to equal pay and opportunity."
The settlements with high-profile firms indicate OFCCP is committed to enforcement of anti-discrimination provisions in U.S. federal contracts despite a prior observation by one source that the office is less likely to play "gotcha" with federal contractors. OFCCP has in recent years issued directives stating it would alter its approach toward audits. For example, one of the office's directives effectively said OFCCP would begin sharing preliminary findings of certain audits with contractors before issuing a Notice of Violation.
But OFCCP has continued to investigate discriminatory practices in cases involving companies like Oracle and Google under the Trump administration. Last month, the office reached a settlement of just under half a million dollars with uniform and facilities management company Cintas over alleged hiring discrimination.
Each of the three companies mentioned in the recent settlements have been the subject of prior discrimination claims. Bank of America, for instance, has paid more than $210 million in disclosed settlement agreements to resolve discrimination claims since 2000, according to a report by advocacy group Good Jobs First. Bank of America's spokesperson told HR Dive that OFCCP's review occurred between six and 10 years ago at a small number of offices: "We are confident that our hiring practices were appropriate and reflected Bank of America's demonstrated record of recruiting a diverse workforce."
Goldman Sachs faces an ongoing class-action suit brought by women employees alleging "systemic and pervasive discrimination." The company's spokesperson said it "remains committed to equal pay for all of its employees" and would "continue to focus on our initiatives to ensure the career progression of our diverse professionals." Dell EMC agreed in 2018 to a $2.9 million settlement with OFCCP over alleged pay discrimination. Dell's spokesperson said Tuesday that it "volunteered to work with the OFCCP toward a swift resolution of all open and pending matters."
In addition to settlements with employers, DOL previously said it has collected more than $4 million in back wages for nearly 7,500 employees since April 2018 through its wage and hour self-reporting program, known as the Payroll Audit Independent Determination program.