Bad Glow: Nuclear Power Co. Docked $235K in Government’s Settlement of Wage Bias Case

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions has some clean up of its pay practices to do at its Aiken, South Carolina site.

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs announced last Wednesday, August 12, that it has settled a case against the company for discrimination in wages paid to female and minority employees.  DOL announced that day that  a compliance review by the OFCCP found that the management company for the Savannah River nuclear site discriminated against women in some engineering, technical and administrative positions. The review also determined that African Americans were underpaid in certain operation specialist positions.

From 2009 to 2010, government investigators determined, Savannah River paid 57 female employees less than their male counterparts, and 15 African American employees less than their white counterparts. The agency found a statistically significant difference in pay even after taking into account legitimate factors affecting pay. The company denied liability, but entered into a conciliation agreement to resolve the alleged violations.

That resolution will cost the company $234,895, and as part of the settlement it also agreed to review its personnel policies to make sure that such “systemic discrimination” doesn’t happen again.

“Workers often don’t know how their pay compares with that of their colleagues, so discrimination like this can go undetected. That’s why OFCCP’s ability to conduct audits of contractors’ pay practices is critical to closing pay gaps based on race and gender,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu, who represents the department on President Obama’s National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force.

As a federal contractor, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions is forbidden to discriminate against minorities and women and must take affirmative action to hire and promote them to jobs with the company.

For more on the settlement, click here.

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