Batch Hiring Leads To Equal Pay Exposure

Dell, Inc. will pay $75,000 and provide other relief to settle a lawsuit alleging the employer paid a female information technology (IT) systems analyst substantially less than her male counterpart. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) had filed the equal pay and sex discrimination lawsuit against Dell.

According to the allegations, Dell hired a woman with 24 years of experience along with three male coworkers in the same department from another employer in September 2017.

While working as an IT systems analyst for Dell, the woman performed the same tasks, assignments, and work as one of her male coworkers who was hired from the same former employer at the same time. However, he was paid $17,510 more per year than she was.

The consent decree settling the suit, which has been approved by a federal court, requires Dell to provide EPA and Title VII training, post notice of employees rights, and report on discrimination to the EEOC for two years, in addition to paying monetary damages. "Dell to Pay $75,000 to Settle EEOC Equal Pay Lawsuit" eeoc.gov (Sep. 07, 2021).

Commentary

When hiring in batches for a certain position, employers must make sure that individual pay rates are compliant with the Equal Pay Act.

In this particular matter, batch hiring was made from a different employer at or near the same time.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, to comply with the Equal Pay Act, jobs being compared must require substantially equal skill, effort, responsibility, and be performed under similar working conditions (ex. physical, hazards) within the same establishment.

“An establishment is a distinct physical place of business rather than an entire business or enterprise consisting of several places of business. In some circumstances, physically separate places of business may be treated as one establishment. For example, if a central administrative unit hires employees, sets their compensation, and assigns them to separate work locations, the separate work sites can be considered part of one establishment.”

“Substantially equal” work does not mean identical jobs. The jobs can be substantially equal in overall job content, no matter the job title. Minor differences in the skill, effort, or responsibility of the job duties will not make the work unequal.

Work with your local legal counsel regarding all wage-related issues.

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