Michael Baker International Inc. agreed to pay $122,299 in back wages as part of an agreement with the U.S. Dept. of Labor to resolve allegations that the engineer-consultant paid women in four job titles less than their male counterparts.
Officials at the agency's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs said they discovered the alleged pay discrimination during a routine compliance review of the firm as a federal contractor. It found the Pittsburgh-based firm was not in compliance with equal employment opportunity nondiscrimination requirements between January 2020 and June 2021.
The settlement represents back wages plus interest for four eligible employees in the company’s engineering unit, officials said. Under its terms, Michael Baker will also conduct a compensation analysis and make salary adjustments to correct any gender-related pay disparities that are found. The company will also review its compensation system and provide additional training to managers to future ensure compliance.
The firm did not immediately respond to inquiries. The agreement says it denies any violation of the executive order cited by department officials.
Executive Order 11246, originally signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1960s, prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin. Agency officials said Michael Baker holds federal contracts with the U.S. General Services Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Dept. of Defense.
The Equal Pay Act also protects against wage discrimination based on gender. Still, the pay gap between men and women has remained at a similar level over the past 20 years, according to an analysis published by Pew Research Center last year. It found that women earned an average of 82% of what men earned. Between 2000 and 2022, that gap had closed by only $0.02 on the dollar.
Samuel Maiden, regional contract compliance director, said in a statement that the agreement is part of “continued efforts to bridge gender wage gaps and successfully achieve pay equality for women.”