DOL Settles Gender Pay Discrimination Allegations against Boehringer
The Department of Labor (“DOL”) settled a claim of gender pay discrimination against Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc., a pharmaceutical company, on August 18, 2020. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) investigated allegations that Boehringer paid female scientists and technicians less than males in the same positions at a facility in St. Joseph, Missouri where the Company manufactures biological animal vaccines. To resolve the claim, the Company agreed to pay 75 current and former scientists and technicians $379,089 in back pay and interest.
The OFCCP noted that Boehringer “worked cooperatively” with the agency during its compliance review to resolve the claim and prevent future discrimination. In addition to the monetary penalty, the Company agreed to revise its policies and procedures to ensure they are not discriminatory. Specifically, the Company agreed to ensure that its pay schedules did not discriminate against women and to train managers and supervisors who are involved in determining compensation. Carmen Navarro, the OFCCP Midwest Regional Director, stated that the DOL “is committed to combating pay discrimination and ensuring fair compensation of all employees.”
Federal contractors must constantly evaluate their pay practices to ensure that they are not discriminating against women. In addition, they should maintain accurate records and document voluntary efforts to correct pay disparities. When faced with an OFCCP compliance evaluation, contractors must consult with legal counsel to ensure that their rights are fully protected.