BOSTON — Lahey Clinic Hospital, Inc. will pay $190,000 to resolve allegations of systemic pay discrimination at its medical center in Burlington, Massachusetts. A compliance review by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found that Lahey Clinic discriminated against 38 female housekeepers by paying the women 70 cents less per hour than their male counterparts.
"While 70 cents might not seem like much, over the course of a year it adds up to a $1,500 disparity," said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu, a member of President Obama's National Equal Pay Task Force. "Workers don't often know how their pay compares with that of their colleagues, and discrimination like this is often hidden. That's why OFCCP's ability to audit and review contractors' pay practices is critical to closing the pay gap once and for all."
OFCCP investigators determined that, from 2010 to 2012, the Lahey Clinic failed to pay certain female housekeepers — predominantly Haitian, Creole-speaking African Americans — at the same rate as their male counterparts. Executive Order 11246 mandates that federal contractors like the Lahey Clinic must not discriminate in pay or other forms of compensation on the basis of sex. In its agreement with OFCCP, the Lahey Clinic will pay the affected women $190,000 in lost wages, interest and salary adjustments.
A nonprofit hospital and medical center, the Lahey Clinic has more than 5,300 employees and serves almost 3,000 patients daily. Since 2012, the clinic has received $815,000 in federal contracts from the Health Resources and Services Administration at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 2009, Lahey paid $136,000 to settle OFCCP's allegations of hiring discrimination affecting 18 minorities — mostly Hispanic and Asian Americans — who applied and were rejected for secretarial positions.
In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. Collectively, these three laws require federal contractors and subcontractors to prohibit discrimination and ensure equal opportunity in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and status as a protected veteran. For more information, please call OFCCP's toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 or visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp.