US Department of Labor, Worley Group reach agreement to resolve alleged gender-based pay discrimination in Houston
HOUSTON – The U.S. Department of Labor has entered into a conciliation agreement with Worley Group, to resolve alleged pay discrimination affecting 42 female, Black and Hispanic employees at its Houston location, formerly operated by Jacobs Engineering. The company’s parent, Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. is a federal defense contractor. In April 2019, Worley Group assumed control of Jacobs Engineering’s Houston operations.
During a routine compliance evaluation, the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found Jacobs Engineering discriminated against the affected employees beginning on or before Dec. 31, 2016. The evaluation found the company paid affected employees working in controls systems engineering, project engineering, quality control, and scheduling/planning less than their counterparts. OFCCP determined that the company’s actions violated Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin. The company denies the allegations.
In 2016, Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. had a direct contract with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs totaling approximately $2.1 million.
Pursuant to the agreement, Worley Group will pay $500,000 in back wages and interest to 42 affected employees. The contractor will also allocate $500,000 for salary adjustments. Additionally, the company will provide compensation training to managers and human resources workers.
“The law is very clear, federal contractors must provide a level playing field to all workers, regardless of their race or ethnicity,” said Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Regional Director Melissa Speer in Dallas. “All employees deserve equitable pay, and we are glad that Worley Group proactively agreed to correct the issue early.”
Worley Group is an international technical professional services company that provides technical, professional and construction services, as well as scientific and specialty consulting to companies, organizations and government agencies. The company’s Houston location provides engineering services to government sectors including NASA, the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Energy, and military branches.
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. These laws, as amended, make it illegal for contractors and subcontractors doing business with the federal government to discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. In addition, contractors and subcontractors are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees because they have inquired about, discussed or disclosed their compensation or that of others, subject to certain limitations, and may not retaliate against applicants or employees for engaging in protected activities. These laws also require that federal contractors provide equal employment opportunity through affirmative action. For more information, please call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 1-800-397-6251 or visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.
OFCCP launched the Class Member Locator to identify applicants or workers who may be entitled to monetary relief and/or consideration for job placement as a result of OFCCP’s compliance evaluations and complaint investigations. If you think you may be a class member employed by Jacobs Engineering, learn more about this and other settlements.