Computing giant Dell EMC must pay more than US$2.9mil (RM11.49mil) in back wages after allegedly paying female workers in California and North Carolina less than men, the US Department of Labour announced.
“Beginning in 2014, Dell EMC systemically discriminated against females in engineering, marketing, and sales roles at its Pleasanton, California, facility, and females in engineering and manufacturing roles at its Santa Clara, California, facility,” the department said in a press release Monday.
Dell, headquartered in Massachusetts, said the US$2.9mil (RM11.49mil) settlement resolved longstanding audits of data-storage firm EMC from before the time when Dell agreed in October 2015 to buy the company, forming Dell EMC, a cloud-computing subsidiary. Dell said it believes there was no evidence of pay discrimination.
“Dell has a long-held commitment to pay equity and non-discrimination in all our employment practices,” the company said in a statement.
The Labour Department’s claims have “no relation to current Dell pay practices and policies”, Dell said.
The unequal pay was discovered during routine evaluations by the labour department branch responsible for monitoring federal contractors, according to the department.
In North Carolina, federal investigators found that Dell paid female and black engineers at a Durham facility less than white men, and that it paid black women in manufacturing jobs in Apex less than white men, the department said.
Dell, which denies liability, has cooperated with the government to resolve the issues, the department said.
“Together, we will ensure that the company complies with equal employment opportunity laws in its compensation practices,” said Ondray Harris, head of the department’s contractor-compliance unit.
On top of paying US$2.9mil (RM11.49mil) in back pay and interest, Dell has agreed to make pay adjustments and to move to ensure its pay practices are legal, the department said.
Dell is not the first major tech company with operations in the Bay Area to feel the sting from Labour Department probes into possible differences in pay between men and women.
Google is locked in a legal battle with the department, which has accused the Mountain View search and digital-advertising giant of “extreme” pay discrimination against women. Google has denied the claims, and a federal judge has called the department’s theory in the case “little more than speculation”.
Last year, the department hit Oracle with a lawsuit, alleging the Redwood City software behemoth “has a systemic practice of paying Caucasian male workers more than their counterparts in the same job title, which led to pay discrimination against female, African American and Asian employees”.
Oracle has denied the claims, saying they were “politically motivated, based on false allegations, and wholly without merit”. — The San Jose Mercury News/Tribune News Service