AstraZeneca will pay $250,000 to 124 women who were
subjected to pay discrimination while working at the corporation’s Philadelphia Business
Center in Wayne, Pa. The
action resolves a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor in May 2010
alleging that the company discriminated against female sales specialists by
paying them salaries that were, on average, $1,700 less than their male
The department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance
Programs conducted a scheduled compliance review of the business center in 2002
and found that AstraZeneca had violated Executive Order 11246 by failing to
meet its obligations as a federal contractor to ensure employees were paid
fairly without regard to sex, race, color, religion and national origin.
AstraZeneca holds a contract valued at more than $2 billion with the U.S.
Department of Veterans Affairs to provide pharmaceutical products to hospitals
and medical centers around the country.
“Forty-eight years after President Kennedy signed the
Equal Pay Act, women are still fighting for fundamental fairness when it comes
to how we are paid,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu, a member of
President Obama’s National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force. “I am glad
AstraZeneca finally has agreed to pay its employees what they’ve earned.
More importantly, we look forward to working with the company’s
management to make sure this does not happen again to anyone who works for
Under a consent decree and order filed with the department’s
Office of Administrative Law Judges, in addition to making financial
restitution, the company has agreed to work with OFCCP to conduct a statistical
analysis of the base pay of 415 individuals employed full time as
“primary care” and “specialty care” level III
pharmaceutical sales specialists in Alabama, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland,
New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia,
West Virginia and the District of Columbia. If the analysis concludes that
female employees continue to be underpaid, the company will adjust salaries
Finally, AstraZeneca has agreed to develop and annually
update its affirmative action plan and keep all supporting documentation as
required by law. If the company fails to comply with the consent decree, it may
be subject to sanctions, including cancellation of its current federal contract
and debarment from acquiring future ones.
In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP’s legal
authority exists under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the
Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. As amended, these
three laws hold those who do business with the federal government, both
contractors and subcontractors, to the fair and reasonable standard that they
not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion,
national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. For general
information, call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251. Additional
information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp.