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Goldman Sachs, Dell Settle Pay Bias Allegations for Millions (1)

Sept. 30, 2019, 6:59 PMUpdated: Sept. 30, 2019, 8:52 PM

Goldman Sachs and Dell Technologies will pay a combination of almost $17 million to settle separate Labor Department allegations of pay bias based on gender and race.

The two settlements are the largest ever obtained by the DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which monitors government contractors for compliance with federal non-discrimination laws. State Street Corp. and Wachovia Corp. previously settled compensation discrimination allegations from the agency for $5 million and $5.5 million, respectively, the OFCCP’s other high settlement agreements.

Goldman Sachs will pay almost $10 million to a class of about 600 workers to settle pay discrimination claims at the company’s New York City headquarters, the agency announced. Neither settlement was immediately available for review.

Dell Technologies will pay $7 million to resolve 20 outstanding compliance audits of the technology company, which holds contracts valued at more than $14 million, according to the agency. A DOL spokesperson said it would be a class of about 5,475 workers. The $7 million includes more than $1.5 million that EMC Corp. already paid in April 2012 to settle OFCCP allegations. Dell and EMC Corp. merged in 2016.

Dell also has settled pay bias allegations in the past, agreeing to pay $2.9 million in 2018.

A Goldman Sachs spokesperson said in an email that the company “remains committed to equal pay for all of its employees.”

“Goldman Sachs disagrees with the OFCCP’s statistical analysis that is the basis of the agency’s allegations,” the spokesperson said. “To avoid further litigation, we are pleased to resolve this matter that relates solely to pay for a limited number of employees who worked in the New York office in 2011 and 2012.”

Dell didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The announcements follow a Sept. 30 OFCCP settlement with Bank of America that resolved hiring bias allegations based on race and sex. The company will pay $4.2 million to black, Hispanic, and female applicants at six locations in four states.

The agency in recent years has focused on pay discrimination allegations in both the finance and technology sectors. The OFCCP has ongoing litigation against JPMorgan Chase & Co., which it accused of illegally paying women less than men in technology roles.

The agency has pursued litigation against Oracle Corp. and Google in the past. The Oracle case is ongoing, with the OFCCP alleging that the tech company owes women, Asian, and black workers $400 million in shorted wages.

Earlier this year, OFCCP Director Craig Leen met with representatives from the technology and finance sectors to assure them that the agency isn’t specifically targeting them. Members of the regulated community at those meetings expressed concerns about how the agency handles pay discrimination audits.

Agency-Specific Agreements

Both Goldman Sachs and Dell-EMC agreed to nationwide “early resolution” agreements, whereby their compliance will be routinely monitored in exchange for five years free of random OFCCP audits. These are at least the fourth and fifth “early resolution” agreements with the agency, joining those with Bank of America, Performance Food Group, Cintas Corp., and US Foods Inc.

Goldman Sachs also agreed to opt in to a Functional Affirmative Action Plan, which monitors the company’s equal employment opportunities based on business function instead of geographic location. The agency updated its guidelines in June to make it easier for companies to use to these plans as opposed to the more traditional location-based plans.

(Updated to reflect additional reporting.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Paige Smith in Washington at psmith@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga at jcasuga@bloomberglaw.com; Martha Mueller Neff at mmuellerneff@bloomberglaw.com

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