Qualcomm entered into a “literally unparalleled” pre-suit settlement to stave off a proposed gender discrimination class action. Qualcomm agreed to pay $19.5 million to approximately 3,290 female employees and make systemic corporate changes to its policies and practices to promote equal pay and job opportunities for its female employees.
This action began in October 2015 when former Qualcomm employee Dandan Pan filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming that Qualcomm’s male-dominated culture, policies and practices systematically discriminate against its female employees.
The EEOC complaint alleges that Qualcomm’s female employees earn less than their men counterparts and hold less than 15% of the company’s senior leadership positions. Moreover, rather than posting available promotion positions, Qualcomm has its managers “sponsor” employees they recommend for promotion. This mentorship system results in gender disparity as Qualcomm’s predominately male managers typically select male employees for promotion.
After months of protracted negotiations the parties agreed to a settlement prior to the formal initiation of a lawsuit in federal court. The settlement was reached after two days of intense mediation, with a third-party mediator, in which expert statistical analysis and evidence was exchanged.
The settlement focuses on implementing corporate policies and practices that eliminate gender disparity. Qualcomm has agreed to add a compliance officer who will continuously analyze the company’s compensation policies and work to promote equal pay among men and women. Qualcomm has also agreed to retain independent consultants to examine gender disparities and recommend company policies and initiatives to promote an equitable work environment for women.
The parties touted the settlement as “one of the largest employment discrimination settlements in recent years and represents an excellent value for the Classes.”
“While we have strong defenses to the claims, we elected to focus on continuing to make meaningful enhancements to our internal programs and processes that drive equity and a diverse and inclusive workforce which are values we share and embrace,” the company said.
Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP focuses on complex civil litigation, including securities, antitrust, employment law, wage and hour, and consumer class actions as well as shareholder derivative and merger and transactional litigation. The firm is headquartered in New York, and maintains offices in California, Delaware and Pennsylvania.
Since its founding in 1995, Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP has served as lead or co-lead counsel in numerous high-profile cases which ultimately provided significant recoveries to investors, consumers and employees.
Innessa Melamed is an Senior Associate in Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP’s New York office and focuses her practice on employment law and wage and hour class action litigation.
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