- A judge has signed off on a $7.75 million settlement that will end claims that Western Digital paid and promoted women less than men (Chen, et al. v. Western Digital Corporation and Western Digital Technologies, Inc., No. 19-cv-00909 (C.D. Calif., Jan. 13, 2021)).
- The maximum individual net recovery is $17,758.81. The average individual net recovery is about $2,693, and the average recovery is $3,184 for class members who have not previously signed a severance releasing their claims, according to court papers.
- The settlement also calls for the California-based manufacturer to "evaluate, promote, and compensate women equitably," in addition to performing statistical analyses of its promotion and compensation decisions, creating leadership development initiatives for women and bolstering its flexible work and leave policies.
The tech industry has a long history of dealing with accusations of pay inequality based on gender and minority status.
Dell EMC, for example, 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 U.S. Department of Labor'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.
Similarly, a female engineer at Google took the company to court in 2019, claiming that she was paid less than her male peers and that she suffered a retaliatory demotion after complaining about the alleged pay practice. In October 2019, Intel Corp. agreed to pay $3.5 million in back pay and interest to resolve charges it underpaid female, African American and Hispanic American employees at its facilities in Arizona, California and Oregon.
Other tech companies have been in the news for their attempts to voluntarily correct pay disparities. Salesforce 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.