Princeton University has agreed to pay over $1 million in back pay and future wages to a group of female employees, following findings by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), that between 2012 and 2014, female employees in full professor positions were paid less than their male counterparts. Princeton also agreed to “enhance future compliance proactively,” and will conduct pay equity trainings and statistical analysis to assess whether disparities persist. Entering into such an agreement is not an admission of liability, and the University has stated that its decision to enter into the agreement was made out of a desire to forgo costly and lengthy litigation. According to OFCCP Director Craig E. Leen, “early resolution conciliation agreements are an effective tool for contractors to ensure equitable pay to employees, enhance internal salary equity reviews, and proactively correct any disparities uncovered.”
OFCCP enforces laws that prohibit contractors and subcontractors doing business with the federal government from discriminating in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. These same laws also require that federal contractors provide equal employment opportunity through affirmative action. Employers contracting with the federal government must be mindful of compliance with state and federal laws as well as Executive Orders enforced by agencies such as DOL.
Federal contractors should contact Shulman Rogers Employment Law attorneys with questions regarding this Alert or to discuss this topic further.
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