Princeton to Pay Nearly $1 Million in Gender Pay Discrimination Settlement

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Princeton University has agreed to pay $925,000 in employee back payment and at least $250,000 in future salary adjustments to resolve allegations of compensation discrimination against woman workers by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), according to the agency’s announcement last week.

Nearly a decade ago, the Department of Labor began an investigation into Princeton but paused in 2016 for undisclosed reasons. In 2017, the OFCCP reopened the case.

The OFCCP found pay disparities existed for 106 women in the full professor position at the university between 2012 and 2014, which violates a federal law that prohibits employee discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin.

Princeton spokesman Ben Chang said in a written statement that the agency’s claim is inaccurate. Based on the school’s own analysis for 2012-14, there were no significant gender pay disparities found. However, to avoid costly and lengthy court litigation, the university decided to sign the resolution.

“Early resolution conciliation agreements are an effective tool for contractors to ensure equitable pay to employees, enhance internal salary equity reviews, and proactively correct any disparities uncovered,” said OFCCP Director Craig E. Leen.

Diana Sen, regional director of the OFCCP Northeast in New York, said that the university is taking steps to “promote pay equity and enhance its diversity initiatives that will help it comply with current federal laws” and that the agency “[looks] forward to continuing to work cooperatively with Princeton to implement the agreement.”