LinkedIn, the professional networking platform, reached a settlement with the US Department of Labor to pay $1.8 million to female employees who the agency says were compensated much less than their male colleagues between 2015 and 2017, the department said Tuesday.
According to a statement issued by the agency, LinkedIn denied 686 women equal pay at its San Francisco office and at its headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. Women worked in engineering, marketing, and product positions.
During a routine evaluation, the agency found that the women in question had been paid “at a statistically significantly lower rate” than their male counterparts, even after taking into account “legitimate explanatory factors.” , according to the settlement agreement between LinkedIn and the Department of Labor. .
“Our agreement will ensure that LinkedIn better understands its obligations as a federal contractor,” Jane Suhr, regional director of the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, said in the agency statement.
In a statement Tuesday, Microsoft-owned LinkedIn denied discriminating against certain employees.
“While we have agreed to resolve this matter, we do not agree with the government’s claim,” the statement said.
The settlement includes about $1.75 million in back wages and more than $50,000 in interest to be paid to the women, according to the settlement agreement.
As part of the settlement, LinkedIn also agreed to send the agency reports for the next three years as it evaluates its compensation policies and makes pay adjustments, the Labor Department said. The company agreed to run a training program for employees on “non-discrimination obligations.”
LinkedIn reported that, last year, its female employees earned $0.999 for every dollar its male employees earned. The company said on its website that it employed more than 19,000 people worldwide.
“LinkedIn pays and has paid its employees fairly and equitably when comparing similar work,” the company’s statement said.
Under an executive order from 1965, federal contractors, including LinkedIn, must provide “equal opportunity” to their employees and may not discriminate on the basis of sex, gender identity or other factors.
In general, women in the United States have been paid less than men. In 2021, women working full time earned about 83 percent of what their male counterparts did, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in January.
Tech companies have faced particular scrutiny for what critics say are failures to provide equal opportunities to women and people of color.
In February 2021, Google reached a $3.8 million settlement with the Department of Labor amid allegations that it made hiring and compensation decisions that discriminated against female and Asian employees and applicants.
Under an agreement with state authorities in Rhode Island, Pinterest committed $50 million in November 2021 for reforms to address allegations of discrimination against women and people of color.