Thomson Reuters will pay $550,000 in back wages and interest to 113 class members
During a corporate management compliance evaluation, the OFCCP found that beginning on or before October 1, 2017, Thomson Reuters Corp. (TR) discriminated against 113 female, Black, and Hispanic employees working in administrative and technical professional and client specialist positions. OFCCP alleged that the company paid these employees less than their counterparts.
Specifically, the company failed to afford equal employment opportunities to Black employees employed in the Administrative Professionals and Tech Professionals job groups by paying them less than similarly-situated Asians. In addition, the company allegedly paid Hispanic employees employed in positions in the Tech Professionals job group by paying them less than their Asian counterparts. In the same job group, Tech Professionals, OFCCP claimed that the company paid females less than males in the same positions. Lastly, Black employees in the Client Specialist 6 Corporate title in the Jr. Admin Professionals job group were paid less than similarly-situated Whites.
Thomson Reuters Corp. has entered into a conciliation agreement (CA) and agreed to pay $550,000, adjusted for legal contributions and deductions, in back wages and interest to affected current class members and former employers. The monetary settlement will be distributed equally among the class members. As part of the CA, the company will also provide pay equity training for individuals involved in compensation decisions. Annually, at it is Three Times Square establishment, TR will “evaluate whether starting salaries, salary increases, promotion decisions, performance evaluation ratings, procedures for assigning work, the availability of training opportunities, leave policies, steering applicants into low paying jobs, and/or limiting the opportunity for transfer for better jobs have a disproportionately negative effect on the compensation of Blacks, Hispanics, and females.”
This is another conciliation agreement citing a contractor for discriminating (at least in part) against one minority in favor of another, in this case, Blacks and Hispanics vs. Asians, although one instance involves discrimination against Blacks in favor of Whites, and another against females in favor of males.
Unlike previous agreements involving alleged pay discrimination, this audit actually began during the Trump administration and is not a carryover from the Obama administration. It is also unusual in that four of the five instances of discrimination cited claim pay discrimination based on job group status. Only one citation, for discrimination against Blacks in favor of Whites actually refers to differences in pay within a job title.
We find this unusual because typically pay discrimination involves similarly-situated individuals, and unless the individuals in a job group hold the same job title, it is difficult to see how there could be discrimination in pay that is consistent within racial groupings over a wide variety of job titles. Presumably, different job titles involve different conditions of work. We understand that the description of a job group involves job titles that are “similar” in content, wage rate, and opportunity, but job groups exist solely to provide a basis for determining availability and establishing placement goals.
The fact that Thomson Reuters has agreed to a scheme that requires it to “evaluate” a variety of personnel activities, including starting salaries, promotion evaluation ratings, etc. is not necessarily an indication that the contractor has failed to evaluate or monitor such activities on an ongoing basis, particularly when the list includes “steering applicants into low paying jobs”. If that were truly the case, we would expect to see Thomson Reuters cited for steering as a cause of the alleged pay discrimination. This has all the hallmarks of a “go away” settlement.
Nevertheless, the takeaway from this agreement (and others like it) is that conducting proactive pay equity analyses can reduce risks and costs, and more importantly, ensure that organizations compensate people equitably for similar work. Organizations who would like additional information on OutSolve’s Pay Equity Analysis, or other compliance services, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here.