- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has sued Dell, Inc., alleging it violated federal law by paying a female IT analyst less than it paid a male employee paying the same work. The lawsuit, filed Oct. 15 in federal court, claimed the company violated the Equal Pay Act (EPA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- EEOC, in announcing the suit, said the computer giant acquired the company for which the plaintiff worked and hired her and a male analyst at the same time. Kea Golden, the plaintiff, was paid $17,510 less despite performing the same tasks, assignments and work as the male analyst, according to the workplace civil rights agency.
- The lawsuit requested back pay, damages and injunctive relief, including an order barring Dell from engaging in discriminatory treatment in the future.
Accusations of pay disparities based on gender and minority status have long haunted the tech industry.
Dell EMC paid $2.9M to settle gender, race pay discrimination charges in 2018. The subsidiary agreed to the settlement to resolve U.S. Department of Labor allegations of pay inequality at four locations in California and North Carolina. Following a routine compliance evaluation, the agency’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs concluded that Dell EMC discriminated against women in engineering, manufacturing, marketing and sales roles and that it paid women and Black employees less than White men. The company denied liability.
Other tech companies have made headlines for their attempts to voluntarily correct pay disparities. Salesforce said it conducted an equal pay assessment in 2015 and in 2017 and found that pay for both genders needed adjusting so it spent $6 million on the effort and pledged to continue monitoring the situation. GoDaddy said in December 2019 that it had achieved pay parity between men and women in similar roles for the fifth consecutive year. Its 2019 diversity report also showed modest pay increases for women and ethnic minority groups in tech jobs and women in leadership roles over their male or non-minority counterparts.
Some solutions have been successful. Government-mandated disclosures have been shown to narrow the gender wage gap, according to research. Activist investors have also turned their eyes toward the gender pay gap, prompting big name companies to disclose pay gaps, a tactic aimed at encouraging improvement. Employers can also conduct pay audits. But, experts suggest that the audits be undertaken with the help of an attorney to ensure that the information remains private in any future litigation.