3 minute read 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) continues to be steadfast in its efforts to enforce pay equity, as a recent case with Dell demonstrates.

The case involves the computer tech giant and two IT analysts who were hired at the same time. Kea Golden and a male colleague who carried out the same duties were paid significantly different wages, over $17,000 to be specific. Despite having nearly 25 years of experience and coming from the same employer before being acquired by Dell, Golden was paid less.

In response to alleged violations of both the federal Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Right Act, the EEOC filed suit in October and claims Dell must pay back wages, damages, and injunctive relief, including an order barring Dell from engaging in discriminatory treatment in the future, according to an EEOC press release.

Unfortunately for Dell, this is not the first time the company has been charged with pay inequality. In 2018 the company was identified as having failed to comply with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ (OFCCP) equal employment opportunity rules by “discriminating against females in engineering, marketing, and sales roles” in locations across the country. 

Dell denied liability but paid nearly $3 million in back pay and interest to the affected employees. The company also pledged to make pay adjustments to ensure pay equity in the workplace. 

Dell is not the only company to have allegedly failed to achieve pay equity either. Organizations such as Riot Games, Oracle, and Uber have been identified as having failed to pay employees equally and fairly. What this means for your organization is that pay inequality is everywhere and companies large and small need to take a proactive approach to the systemic issue.

But that’s not enough, as Dell has showcased in this latest case. With the state of California having recently enacted SB 973, Colorado preparing for its Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, and other states passing salary history bans, organizations should get ahead of any potential pay inequalities and undergo a voluntary pay equity audit.

Pay equity audits are best performed by third party companies that specialize in data wrangling and prepping, as undergoing a pay gap risk assessment provides your organization with complete transparency into your organization’s pay structure. In addition, a pay gap risk assessment can identify pay differences between employees that cannot be explained due to job-related factors. This type of audit not only identifies problems, but also provides actionable solutions. It gives employers an opportunity to ensure fairness in pay and prevent equal pay issues. It allows employers to minimize risk by identifying and remediating deficiencies, providing them with greater standing to defend against and win claims of discrimination.